There appears to be a paucity of knowledge about the biomechanics of locking plates for the fixation of metacarpal shaft fractures. A thorough understanding of the biomechanics of locking plates is needed to apply them correctly, optimize outcomes, and avoid complications. The purpose of this study is to investigate the biomechanics of the fixation of metacarpal fractures using locking plate-screw constructs with different numbers of screws.
The difference in the number of screws in the locking plate influenced the biomechanical outcome of the metacarpal fracture.
Finite element models of third metacarpal fractures with locking plate-screw constructs were established, and the magnitude and distribution of their stresses and displacements were investigated when a vertical load of 100N was applied.
For the metacarpal fracture with a locking plate and screws, the stress in the metacarpal was largely shared by the plate-screw construct. For the plate-screw construct, the stress is concentrated in the area close to the fracture line, and the 6-screw Group has the lowest failure risk since it has the lowest plate stress and the second-lowest screw stress. The implant-bone construct with 8 screws has better biomechanical stability because of minimal displacement, but increased stress on both the metacarpal bone and the screws, leading to increased failure rates.
The stresses in the metacarpal were mostly shared by the plate-screw constructs and the screws closest to the fracture line were the most likely to break or loosen. For the implant-bone constructs, the locking plate with 2 screws was the most vulnerable to break or loosen, whereas the locking plate with 6 screws was the least likely to break or loosen. The implant-bone construct with 8 screws had better biomechanical stability, but the stresses in both the metacarpal and the screws were increased, which increased the risk of failure.
Level of evidence
IV, basic science study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Metacarpal bones, Finite element analysis, Bone plates, Fracture fixation, Stress concentration