Are there too many screw holes in plates for fracture fixation?
BMC Surgery, April 2017
Hongzhi Lv, Wenli Chang, Peizhi Yuwen, Na Yang, Xiaoli Yan, Yingze Zhang
Implant breakage after the fixation of traumatic fractures is rare; however, when it occurs, it is debilitating for the patients and a challenge for surgeons. The purpose of this study was to analyze and identify the independent risk factors for implant breakage of traumatic fractures treated with plate osteosynthesis. We reviewed the medical records of patients with a fracture to any part of their four extremities, clavicle, hand or foot, who underwent surgical plate osteosynthesis from January 2005 to January 2015, and who sustained a subsequent implant breakage. Kaplan-Meier univariate and multivariate Cox regressions were performed to identify independent associations of potential risk factors for implant breakage in this cohort. We identified 168 patients who underwent plate osteosynthesis surgery and had subsequent internal fixator breakage. The mean patient age was 40.63 ± 16.71 years (range, 3 to 78 years), with 72.0% (121) males and 28.0% (47) females. The average time between surgery and implant breakage was 12.85 ± 12.42 months (range, 1 to 60 months). In the final regression model, we show that inserting screws close to the fracture line is an independent predictive risk factor for implant breakage (HR, 2.165, 95%CI, 1.227 to 3.822; P = 0.008). We found that inserting screws close to the fracture line is related to an increased risk of internal fixator breakage in patients treated with plate osteosynthesis after fracture. Plates with additional holes likely lead to an increased risk of implant breakage, presumably because surgeons cannot resist inserting extra screws into the holes adjacent to the fracture line, which reduces the stiffness of the plate. We have addressed this problem by designing a plate without holes adjacent to the fracture line.
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