Distal Femur Defects Reconstructed With Polymethylmethacrylate and Internal Fixation Devices: A Biomechanical Study

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abstractFull article available online at OrthoSuperSite.com/view.asp?rID=41918Benign aggressive distal femur tumors are treated with curettage, adjuvant phenol or argon, and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) packing. For large defects, an internal fixation device is added to reduce the fracture risk. The purpose of this study is to compare the strength of locking plates to other fixation devices for stabilization of these defects.Lateral condyle defects in young, fresh frozen femurs were packed with PMMA and augmented by internal fixation. Three groups of 4 matched pairs of femurs were organized for the following comparisons: (1) stacked Steinmann pins vs crossed screws; (2) stacked pins vs locking plates; and (3) crossed screws vs locking plates. Specimens were subjected to axial load-to-failure testing on an MTS machine.There was no difference in load-to-failure strength (P=.177) using Steinmann pins or crossed screws. Locking plate constructs were stronger (P=.028) than Steinmann pin constructs. Locking plate constructs were also stronger (P<.001) than crossed-screw constructs. Steinmann pin constructs failed with severe intra-articular fractures; crossed screw constructs failed with bulging of the defects, articular impaction, and minimal fracture propagation. Locking plate constructs failed with extra-articular spiral shaft fractures.

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