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J Orthop Trauma. 2018 Jun;32(6):306-312. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001112.

Biomechanical Comparison of 3 Inferiorly Directed Versus 3 Superiorly Directed Locking Screws on Stability in a 3-Part Proximal Humerus Fracture Model.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education, Tampa, FL.
Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Service, Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, FL.



To quantify the stability of 3 points of inferiorly directed versus 3 points of superiorly directed locking screw fixation compared with the full contingent of 6 points of locked screw fixation in the treatment of a 3-part proximal humerus fracture.


A standardized 3-part fracture was created in 10 matched pairs (experimental groups) and 10 nonmatched humeri (control group). Osteosynthesis was performed using 3 locking screws in the superior hemisphere of the humeral head (suspension), 3 locking screws in the inferior hemisphere (buttress), or the full complement of 6 locking screws (control). Specimens were tested in varus cantilever bending (7.5 Nm) to 10,000 cycles or failure. Construct survival (%) and the cycles to failure were compared.


Seven of 10 controls survived the 10,000-cycle runout (70%: 8193 average cycles to failure). No experimental constructs survived the 10,000-cycle runout. Suspension and buttress screw groups failed an average of 331 and 516 cycles, respectively (P = 1.00). The average number of cycles to failure and the number of humeri surviving the 10,000-cycle runout were greater in the control group than in the experimental groups (P ≤ 0.006).


Data support the use of a full contingent of 6 points of locking screw fixation over 3 superior or 3 inferior points of fixation in the treatment of a 3-part proximal humerus fracture with a locking construct. No biomechanical advantage to the 3 buttress or 3 suspension screws used in isolation was observed.

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