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Injury. 2001 Sep;32 Suppl 2:B38-43.

PC-Fix and local infection resistance--influence of implant design on postoperative infection development, clinical and experimental results.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Bacterial infection is still one of the main complications after internal fixation of fractures. The design of implants influences local infection resistance. To reduce the development of infections around implants after internal fixation, the vitality of the bone should be preserved to optimize cellular and humoral host defence mechanisms. For extramedullary fracture fixation, two implant designs are currently in routine use: the Dynamic Compression Plate (DCP) and the Limited Contact Dynamic Compression Plate (LC-DCP). The Point-Contact-Fixator (PC-Fix) is a new design concept based on the philosophy of the LC-DCP and the external fixator. Its function relies on splinting the fragments of a fracture internally with locking bolts rather than with screws that compress the plate to the bone. In this way, the blood supply is not compromised by compression of the periosteum. We investigated the effect of this new design on the incidence of postoperative infection rates in a clinical and an experimental setting. In a prospective multicentre study 1,229 PC-Fixators were used in 896 patients. Of these, 1,172 were available for assessment of infection development. The overall infection rate was 1.1% (13/1,172). The infection rate after open fractures was 1.6% (4/256) and after closed procedures (including closed fractures, osteotomies and non-unions) 1.0% (9/916). These rates are low in comparison to published rates using DCP and LC-DCP. In an experimental study, we compared the infection rates across two groups of rabbits four weeks after fixing either a bacterially contaminated DCP or a PC-Fix to the tibia. Infection rates in the DCP group were significantly higher than in the PC-Fix group: Of the 38 evaluated animals, 12 with a DCP and 5 with a PC-Fix developed local infection (p=0.022). The new PC-Fix design shows low postoperative infection rates in the clinical setting and lower infection rates than the DCP in the experimental setting. The design is an important step in the process of reducing postoperative infection rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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