Orthogonal plating of distal femur fractures: A biomechanical comparison with plate-nail and parallel plating constructs

Zoe B. Cheung, Philip Nasser, James C. Iatridis, David A. Forsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study compared the biomechanical properties of orthogonal plating with plate-nail and parallel plating constructs for supracondylar distal femur fractures. Methods: A supracondylar distal femur fracture was simulated using 15 synthetic osteoporotic femurs. Constructs included: (1) plate-nail (lateral locked distal femoral plate + retrograde intramedullary nail); (2) parallel plating (lateral locked distal femoral plate + medial 4.0 mm compression plate); and (3) orthogonal plating (lateral locked distal femoral plate + posterior one-third tubular plate). Specimens underwent nondestructive loading, fatigue loading, and loading to failure. Gapping at the fracture was measured using a three-dimensional motion capture system. Baseline torsional and axial stiffness, stiffness and strain after fatigue loading, and load to failure were determined. A case example of orthogonal plating is also presented. Results: There was no difference in baseline torsional (p = 0.51) and axial stiffness (p = 0.53). Stiffness after fatigue loading was highest with parallel plating, with no difference between the plate-nail and orthogonal plating constructs (p = 0.84). Strain after fatigue loading was lowest in the parallel plating group (0.54 ± 0.19%), followed by the plate-nail (2.89 ± 0.83%) and orthogonal plating groups (3.04 ± 0.51%). Conclusion: Orthogonal plating demonstrated comparable baseline stiffness to plate-nail and parallel plating constructs, and similar biomechanical performance in fatigue loading to plate-nail constructs. All specimens had ≤3% strain after fatigue loading, suggesting sufficient stability for fracture healing. The benefits of enhanced stability from dual-implant fixation may be achieved through orthogonal plating while avoiding an additional medial surgical approach, and therefore warrants further investigation as a novel alternative for distal femur fracture fixation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
Volume37
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Distal femur fracture
  • Dual plate
  • Plate nail
  • Supplemental fixation

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