Objectives To compare (1) pullout properties between 3.5 mm cortical and locking screws, and (2) mechanical properties and gap displacements between the 3.5 mm broad limited-contact dynamic compression plate (LC-DCP), broad dynamic compression plate (DCP), and narrow locking compression plate (LCP), during axial loading of plate-stabilized diaphyseal fragments with an interfragmentary gap. Study Design In vitro mechanical testing of implanted polyurethane foam (PUF) hollow cylinders that simulated compact or osteopenic diaphyseal bone. Sample Population (1) Five cortical and locking screws and (2) 4 PUF-plate constructs for each plate type; using high- and low-density (0.8 and 0.32 g/cm3) cylinders. Methods (1) Screws were completely extracted at 5 mm/min. (2) Plated constructs were axially compressed at 300 N/s for 10 cycles from 5 to 355 N to determine gap displacement during physiologic loading, followed by single cycle increasing load to failure. Results Pullout properties were not different between screw types. All plate constructs had yield loads over 3 times trotting loads. Gap closure occurred with LC-DCP and DCP constructs, but not LCP constructs. LCP construct properties were most similar to LC-DCP and DCP construct properties in the low-density model. Conclusion All plate systems sustained physiologic limb loads. Only LCP constructs maintained some gap integrity, although LC-DCP and DCP screws were placed in neutral position. Clinical Relevance The LCP system is more likely than LC-DCP and DCP systems, with neutrally positioned screws, to maintain a planned interfragmentary gap, although gap strains range from 0% to 15% across the 2 mm gap during a trot load.
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