Achieving interfragmentary compression without special drilling technique or screw design

Jonathan Garland Eastman, Bradley Deafenbaugh, Blaine A Christiansen, Tanya Garcia-Nolen, Mark A Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Traditional fracture fixation teaching suggests that fully threaded screws do not provide interfragmentary compression unless placed through a glide hole. Based on this assumption, pelvic surgeons typically use fully threaded screws in the treatment of comminuted transforaminal sacral fractures to limit iatrogenic neuroforaminal stenosis. Clinical experience with fully threaded screws suggests that interfragmentary compression actually does occur. We hypothesized that the use of a fully threaded screw does not produce any interfragmentary compression and that there is no difference in insertional torque between partially threaded and fully threaded screws. To test this hypothesis, fully and partially threaded 7.0 millimeter (mm) cannulated screws were placed across two synthetic bone blocks fabricated to simulate normal and osteoporotic bone. We compared two groups of normal and osteoporotic blocks for compression achieved and maximal insertional torque generated with fully threaded and partially threaded screw insertion. A micro computed tomography (CT) scan of the composite blocks was obtained to investigate for structural changes created during screw insertion. For both groups, compression was achieved with fully threaded screws and the maximal insertional torque was higher using fully threaded screws. Micro CT analysis demonstrated local bone damage with structural disruption in the near segment of the fully threaded screw path in comparison to the partially threaded. Clinical significance: this study demonstrates that compression is generated using fully threaded screws without using a predrilled glide hole. The insertional torque required to generate compression with fully threaded screws is increased but is clinically applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1105
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • fully threaded screws
  • interfragmentary compression
  • partially threaded screws
  • sacral fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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