Bicondylar Tibial Plateau Fractures: A Biomechanical Study

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The optimal treatment of bicondylar tibial plateau fractures remains controversial. The current study was designed to answer the following questions: (1) can a lateral fixed angle plate provide similar construct stability to dual plating techniques and (2) does the size of the medial buttress plate used in dual plating techniques have an effect on construct stability? Bicondylar tibial plateau fractures were created, reduced, and instrumented in a matched pair design using a cadaveric simulated bicondylar tibial plateau fracture model. Tibias were instrumented with one of three constructs: a lateral periarticular plate and posteromedial small fragment dynamic compression plate, a lateral periarticular plate and posteromedial ⅓-tubular plate, or a lateral fixed angle plate. Biomechanical testing was done to determine construct stiffness, maximum load to failure, and medial condylar displacement for each of the three constructs. There was no significant difference measured between the two dual plating constructs and the lateral fixed angle plate for overall construct stiffness or with respect to medial condylar fragment displacement. A lateral fixed angle plate may have clinical applications in the treatment of bicondylar tibial plateau fractures.

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