An in vitro biomechanical evaluation of an expansive double-threaded bi-directional compression screw for fixation of type II odontoid process fractures: A SQUIRE-compliant article

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Odontoid process fracture accounts for 5% to 15% of all cervical spine injuries, and the rate is higher among elderly people. The anterior cannulated screw fixation has been widely used in odontoid process fracture, but the fixation strength may still be limited under some circumstances. This study aims to investigate the biomechanical fixation strength of expansive double-threaded bi-directional compression screw (EDBCS) compared with cannulated lag screw (CLS) and improved Herbert screw (IHS) for fixation of type II odontoid process fracture.

Thirty fresh cadaveric C2 vertebrae specimens were harvested and randomly divided into groups A, B, and C. A type II fracture model was simulated by osteotomy. Then the specimens of the 3 groups were stabilized with a single CLS, IHS, or EDBCS, respectively. Each specimen was tested in torsion from 0° to 1.25° for 75 s in each of 5 cycles clockwise and 5 cycles anticlockwise. Shear and tensile forces were applied at the anterior-to-posterior and proximal-to-distal directions, respectively, both to a maximum load of 45 N and at a speed of 1 mm/min.

The mean torsional stiffness was 0.309 N m/deg for IHS and 0.389 N m/deg for EDBCS, which were significantly greater compared with CLS, respectively (0.169 N m/deg) (P < .05 and P < .05). The mean shear stiffness for the EDBCS was 238 N/mm, which was significantly greater than CLS (150 N/mm) and IHS (132 N/mm) (P < .05 and P < .05). All 3 screws only partly restored tensile stiffness, but not significantly.

Fixation with the EDBCS can improve the biomechanical strength for odontoid process fracture compared with CLS and IHS, especially in terms of torsional and shear stiffness.

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