Biomechanical comparison of a lateral polyaxial locking plate with a posterolateral polyaxial locking plate applied to the distal fibula.

Foot and ankle surgery : official journal of the European Society of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

PubMedID: 25103705

Hallbauer J, Klos K, Rausch S, Gräfenstein A, Wipf F, Beimel C, Hofmann G, Mückley T. Biomechanical comparison of a lateral polyaxial locking plate with a posterolateral polyaxial locking plate applied to the distal fibula. Foot Ankle Surg. 2014;20(3):180-185.
BACKGROUND
Polyaxial locking plates are becoming popular for the fixation of distal fibula fractures. This study establishes how construct stiffness and plate loosening, measured as range of motion, differs between lateral and posterolateral plate location.

METHODS
Seven matched pairs of cadaver fibulae were osteotomized in standardized fashion to produce a Weber type B distal fibula fracture. The fragments were fixated with an interfragmentary lag screw and polyaxial locking plates, with one fibula in each pair receiving a posterolateral anti-glide-plate, and the other a lateral neutralization-plate. In a biomechanical test, the bending and torsional stiffnesses of the constructs and the ranges of motion (ROM) were measured and subjected to a paired comparison.

RESULTS
The laterally plated group had a higher median (interquartile range) bending stiffness (29.2 (19.7)N/mm) and a smaller range of motion (2.06 (1.99)mm) than the posterolaterally plated group (14.6 (20.6)N/mm, and 4.11 (3.28)mm, respectively); however, the results were not statistically significant (pbending=0.314; pROM=0.325). Similarly, the torsional stiffness did not differ significantly between the two groups (laterally plated: 426 (259)Nmm/°; posterolaterally plated: 248 (399)Nmm/°; ptorsion=0.900). The range of motion measurements between the two groups under torsional loading were also statistically insignificant (laterally plated: 8.88 (6.30)mm; posterolaterally plated: 15.34 (12.64)mm; pROM=0.900).

CONCLUSION
In biomechanical cadaver-model tests of Weber type B fracture fixation with polyaxial locking plates, laterally plated constructs and posterolaterally plated constructs performed without significantly difference. Therefore, other considerations, such as access morbidity, associated injuries, patient anatomy, or surgeon's preference, may guide the choice of plating pattern. Further clinical studies will be needed for the establishment of definitive recommendations. Clinical relevance: Information on the behavior of polyaxial locking plates is relevant to surgeons performing internal fixation of distal fibula fractures.