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J Orthop Trauma. 2012 Apr;26(4):222-5. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31822421f7.

Relationship of cortical thickness of the proximal humerus and pullout strength of a locked plate and screw construct.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St Louis University, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.



No study to date has evaluated cortical thickness as it relates to locking plate failure or screw pullout in the proximal humerus. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between proximal humerus cortical thickness and locked plate hardware failure in a cadaveric proximal humerus fracture model.


Twelve humerus specimens were placed into two groups based on the proximal humerus cortical thickness on an anteroposterior radiograph: less than 4 mm and greater than 4 mm. The specimens were plated with a six-hole proximal humerus locking plate and a 15-mm resection osteotomy at the surgical neck was performed. The specimens were tested in a materials testing machine at a displacement of 5 mm/min to failure.


Load at failure, stiffness, maximum load, failure, and fracture gap closure were all statistically similar (P > 0.05) between the groups.


Our biomechanical study used modern locked plate-screw construct fixation of a simulated two-part proximal humerus fracture. The mechanical strength was unaffected based on a threshold combined proximal humerus cortical thickness of 4 mm.

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