Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica
Research Article

Interfragmentary lag screw and locking plate combination in simple distal femoral fractures: A finite element analysis

1.

Department of Orthopaedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China

2.

Department of Orthopaedics, Pudong New Area People’s Hospital affiliated to Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences, Shanghai, China

3.

Department of Surgery, Pudong New Area People’s Hospital affiliated to Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences, Shanghai, China

AOTT 2021; 55: 9-15
DOI: 10.5152/j.aott.2021.20035
Read: 167 Downloads: 37 Published: 22 February 2021

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the strength of the locking plate and lag screw construct that is applied in two different working lengths on the simple distal femur fracture model with a finite element analysis (FEA) method. 

Methods: From the computerized tomography scan data of a 60-year-old healthy male, the AO/OTA 33A1-type fracture model was simulated; the fracture gap was stabilized with the models of locking plate construct with (groups C and D) or without an interfragmentary lag screw (groups A and B). Furthermore, 102-mm plate (groups A and C) and 82-mm plate working lengths (groups B and D) were tested using FEA. Two loading conditions (axial compression and torsion) were applied at the center of the femoral head. Construct stiffness, interfragmentary micromotion, and the peak von Mises stress (VMS) on the plate were assessed. 

Results: Group D provided the highest axial stiffness (1347 N/mm), and group A was the weakest (439 N/mm). With the lag screw, shear micromotion remained generally low compared with that without the screw for all axial and torsional load levels and for both plate working lengths, i.e., 0.23 mm with lag screw versus 0.43 mm without lag screw (102 mm working length, 700 N). The percentage decreases of shear micromotion under axial (350/700/1400 N) and torsional loads for the 102-mm working length were >22% and 73%, respectively; while those for the 82-mm working length were >28% and 33%, respectively. The reduction of axial micromotion was observed with the lag screw for all axial load levels as well as for both plate working lengths, i.e., 0.33 mm with lag screw versus 0.87 mm without lag screw (102-mm working length, 700 N). The percentage decreases of axial micromotion under axial loading (350/700/1400 N) for 102 mm and 82 mm working lengths were >42% and 50%, respectively. The peak VMS on the plate stayed generally low with lag screw compared with without lag screw throughout all tested load levels, as well as for both plate working lengths, i.e., 124.26 MPa versus 244.39 MPa (102 mm working length, 700 N). The percentage decreases of the peak VMS under axial (350/700/1400 N) and torsional loads for the 102-mm working length were >40% and 69%, respectively, while those for the 82-mm working length were >47% and 61%, respectively. 

Conclusion: The current FEA concludes that in a simple distal femur fracture, adding a lag screw to a locking plate construct provides better torsional stability with a 102-mm plate working length and better axial stability with a 82-mm plate working length. Additionally, the strength of the materials is increased and implant failure can be minimized by using this technique.

Cite this article as: Zhang J, Wei Y, Li G, Wang J, Xu Y. Interfragmentary lag screw and locking plate combination in simple distal femoral fractures: A finite element analysis. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc 2021; 55(1): 9-15.

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ISSN 1017-995X EISSN 2589-1294