Early Comparative Outcomes of Carbon Fiber–Reinforced Polymer Plate in the Fixation of Distal Femur Fractures

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To evaluate the early clinical results of distal femur fractures treated with carbon fiber–reinforced polyetheretherketone (CFR-PEEK) plates compared with stainless steel (SS) lateral locking plates.


Retrospective comparative cohort study.


ACS Level I trauma center.


Twenty-two patients (11 SS, 11 CFR-PEEK) with closed distal femur fractures treated by a single surgeon over a 6-year period.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Nonunion, hardware failure, reoperation, time to full weight-bearing, and time union were assessed.


The CFR-PEEK cohort was on average older (71 vs. 57 years, P = 0.03) and more likely to have diabetes (P = 0.02). Nonunion was diagnosed in 4/11 (36%) patients in the SS group and 1/11 (9%) patients in the CFR-PEEK group (P = 0.12). Hardware failure occurred in 2 SS patients (18%) compared with none in the CFR-PEEK group (P = 0.14). Time to full weight–bearing was similar between groups, occurring at 9.9 and 12.4 weeks in the CFR-PEEK and SS groups, respectively (P = 0.23). Time to radiographic union averaged 12.4 weeks in the SS group and 18.7 weeks in the CFR-PEEK group (P = 0.26). There were 4 reoperations in the SS group and 1 in the CFR-PEEK group (P = 0.12).


CFR-PEEK plates show encouraging short-term results in the treatment of distal femur fractures with a comparable nonunion, reoperation, and hardware failure rates to those treated with SS plates. This data suggest that CFR-PEEK plates may be a viable alternative to SS plates in fixation of these fractures.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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