Biomechanical analysis using FEA and experiments of metal plate and bone strut repair of a femur midshaft segmental defect
BioMed Research International
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© 2018 Jason Coquim et al. This investigation assessed the biomechanical performance of the metal plate and bone strut technique for fixing recalcitrant nonunions of femur midshaft segmental defects, which has not been systematically done before. A finite element (FE) model was developed and then validated by experiments with the femur in 15 deg of adduction at a subclinical hip force of 1 kN. Then, FE analysis was done with the femur in 15 deg of adduction at a hip force of 3 kN representing about 4 x body weight for a 75 kg person to examine clinically relevant cases, such as an intact femur plus 8 different combinations of a lateral metal plate of fixed length, a medial bone strut of varying length, and varying numbers and locations of screws to secure the plate and strut around a midshaft defect. Using the traditional “high stiffness” femur-implant construct criterion, the repair technique using both a lateral plate and a medial strut fixed with the maximum possible number of screws would be the most desirable since it had the highest stiffness (1948 N/mm); moreover, this produced a peak femur cortical Von Mises stress (92 MPa) which was below the ultimate tensile strength of cortical bone. Conversely, using the more modern “low stiffness” femur-implant construct criterion, the repair technique using only a lateral plate but no medial strut provided the lowest stiffness (606 N/mm), which could potentially permit more in-line interfragmentary motion (i.e., perpendicular to the fracture gap, but in the direction of the femur shaft long axis) to enhance callus formation for secondary-type fracture healing; however, this also generated a peak femur cortical Von Mises stress (171 MPa) which was above the ultimate tensile strength of cortical bone.