Objective - To design and manufacture free-form biodegradable polycaprolactone (PCL) bone plates and to compare mechanical properties of femoral constructs with a distal physeal fracture repaired by use of 5 stabilization methods. Sample Population - 40 canine femoral replicas created by use of additive manufacturing and rapid tooling. Procedures - Surgery duration, mediolateral and craniocaudal bending stiffness, and torsional stiffness of femoral physeal fracture repair constructs made by use of 5 stabilization methods were assessed. The implants included 2 Kirschner wires inserted medially and 2 inserted laterally (4KW), a commercial stainless steel plate (CSP), a custom free-form titanium plate (CTP), thin (2-mm-thick) biodegradable PCL plates (TNP) placed medially and laterally, and thick (4-mm-thick) PCL plates (TKP) placed medially and laterally. Results - Surgical placement of 4KW was more rapid than placement of other implants. The mean caudal cantilever bending stiffness of CTP and CSP constructs was greater than that for TNP, TKP, and 4KW constructs, and the mean caudal cantilever bending stiffness of TNP and TKP constructs was greater than that for 4KW constructs. The mean lateral cantilever bending stiffness of TKP constructs was greater than that for 4KW constructs. Differences among construct types were not significant in yield strength, ultimate strength, yield torque, and ultimate torque. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The mechanical properties of fracture repair constructs made from free-form PCL biodegradable plates compared favorably with those of constructs made from Kirschner wires. The impact of PCL plates on musculoskeletal soft tissues, bone healing, and bone growth should be evaluated before clinical use.
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