Bone and Joint Research
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© 2018 Bujnowski et al. Aim: It has been suggested that the use of a pilot-hole may reduce the risk of fracture to the lateral cortex. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a pilot hole on the strains and occurrence of fractures at the lateral cortex during the opening of a high tibial osteotomy (HTO) and post-surgery loading. Materials and Methods: A total of 14 cadaveric tibias were randomized to either a pilot hole (n = 7) or a no-hole (n = 7) condition. Lateral cortex strains were measured while the osteotomy was opened 9 mm and secured in place with a locking plate. The tibias were then subjected to an initial 800 N load that increased by 200 N every 5000 cycles, until failure or a maximum load of 2500 N. Results: There was no significant difference in the strains on the lateral cortex during HTO opening between the pilot hole and no-hole conditions. Similarly, the lateral cortex and fixation plate strains were not significantly different during cyclic loading between the two conditions. Using a pilot hole did not significantly decrease the strains experienced at the lateral cortex, nor did it reduce the risk of fracture. Conclusions: The nonsignificant differences found here most likely occurred because the pilot hole merely translated the stress concentration laterally to a parallel point on the surface of the hole.
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