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Orthopedics. 2015 May;38(5):e411-6. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20150504-59.

Unicortical versus bicortical locked plate fixation in midshaft clavicle fractures.


Higher rates of poor outcomes in displaced midshaft clavicle fractures treated nonoperatively have recently been reported. Along with expanding indications for operative fixation and increasing application of locked plate constructs, it is unknown whether complications related to bicortical penetration of the clavicle can be avoided using unicortical fixation. The purpose of this study is to compare the biomechanical properties of unicortical and bicortical fixation in precontoured vs manually contoured locking clavicle plates. Forty-eight Sawbone composite human clavicle specimens (item #3408; Pacific Research Laboratories, Vashon, Washington) with a midshaft clavicle osteotomy were reduced and plated in 8 specimens each using a bicortical and unicortical fixation for each of 3 locked plate constructs (3.5-mm LCP Reconstruction Plate; 3.5-mm LCP Superior Clavicle Plate; 3.5-mm LCP Superior Anterior Clavicle Plate; Synthes, Inc, West Chester, Pennsylvania). Specimens were tested for stiffness in axial torsion and cantilever bending and then loaded to failure in 3-point bending. Data were analyzed using 2-way analysis of variance and Tukey's test (P<.05). No significant differences were found between unicortical and bicortical fixation in failure load, cantilever bending, and cross body stiffness. Bicortical fixation was significantly stiffer than unicortical fixation in torsion only for the same plates. Significant differences also existed between plates in torsion. Unicortical locked plate fixation may be a reasonable option in the treatment of displaced midshaft clavicle fracture fixation to avoid complications associated with posteroinferior hardware penetration following clavicle fracture fixation based on the biomechanical performance of these constructs. However, it remains unclear whether these differences will be clinically significant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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