Locking plate technologies are being developed in order to provide the surgeon with advantages over previous bone plate systems (both locking and non-locking). Locking plate systems possess inherent biological advantages in fracture fixation by preserving the periosteal blood supply, serving as internal fixators. It is important to consider the strength of each orthopaedic implant as an important selection criterion while utilizing the reported advantages of locking plate systems to prevent catastrophic fracture failure. Mechanical testing of orthopaedic implants is a common method used to provide a surgeon with insight on mechanical capabilities, as well as to form a standardized method of plate comparison. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate and to quantify observed differences in the bending strength between the LCP (Limited Contact Plate), LC-DCP, 3.5 mm Broad LC-DCP (Limited Contact Dynamic Compression Plate), and SOP (String of Pearls) orthopaedic bone plates. The study design followed the ASTM standard test method for static bending properties of metallic bone plates, which is designed to measure mechanical properties of bone plates subjected to bending, the most common loading encountered in vivo. Single cycle four point bending was performed on each orthopaedic implant. The area moment of inertia, bending stiffness, bending strength, and bending structural stiffness were calculated for each implant. The results of this study demonstrated significant differences (pSOP>LCP=LC-DCP). The 3.5 mm LCP should be expected to provide in vivo strength and stiffness similar to a comparable LC-DCP. The SOP should provide strength and stiffness that is greater than a comparable LC-DCP but less than a 3.5 mm Broad LC-DCP.
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