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Iowa Orthopedic Journal



The end screw in a fracture plate creates the greatest resistance to bending. For osteoporotic fractures treated with plates, there is some question as to the optimal screw insertion technique for the screw farthest from the fracture. A locked, oblique end screw was previously shown to increase resistance to periprosthetic fracture. It is unknown, however, how this end screw configuration would resist pullout when subjected to bending.


Narrow, low contact 3.5 mm locking compression plates with 6 and 12 holes were anchored to simulated bone material with material properties representing osteoporotic bone. Four configurations were evaluated for the end screw: perpendicular and angulated 30 degrees away from the fracture for both non-locked and locked screws (n=6 per group). The constructs were subjected to 3 point bending until the peak load and finally total construct failure was achieved.


Peak force, stiffness, energy to peak load, and the failure mode of each construct were determined. All four 12-hole construct groups failed by gross plastic bending deformation of the plate at the fulcrum past a previously established clinically relevant limit for failure (15°). All 12-hole plate constructs failed at statistically higher loads and energy than any of the 6-hole plate constructs, with the exception of the 6-hole locked, oblique construct.


The locked, oblique end screw provides equivalent pull out strength for 3.5 mm low contact plates regardless of plate length. Combined with its resistance to periprosthetic fracture, this end screw configuration appears to be the best option for the construct integrity of hybrid plating for osteoporotic fractures.

Clinical Relevance

Osteoporotic fractures are challenging to treat. The current study and the existing literature show that resistance to both bending loads and refracture at the end of a plate are minimized with a locked screw angled away from the fracture.



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© The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal 2017