We evaluated the biomechanical properties of two different methods of fixation for unstable fractures of the proximal humerus. Biomechanical testing of the two groups, locking plate alone (LP), and locking plate with a fibular strut graft (LPSG), was performed using seven pairs of human cadaveric humeri. Cyclical loads between 10 N and 80 N at 5 Hz were applied for 1 000 000 cycles. Immediately after cycling, an increasing axial load was applied at a rate of displacement of 5 mm/min. The displacement of the construct, maximum failure load, stiffness and mode of failure were compared. The displacement was significantly less in the LPSG group than in the LP group (p = 0.031). All maximum failure loads and measures of stiffness in the LPSG group were significantly higher than those in the LP group (p = 0.024 and p = 0.035, respectively). In the LP group, varus collapse and plate bending were seen. In the LPSG group, the humeral head cut out and the fibular strut grafts fractured. No broken plates or screws were seen in either group. We conclude that strut graft augmentation significantly increases both the maximum failure load and the initial stiffness of this construct compared with a locking plate alone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine