Bending Characteristics of Polymethylmethacrylate Columns, Connecting Bars of Carbon Fiber, Titanium, and Stainless Steel Used in External Skeletal Fixation and an Acrylic Interface

Pierre M. Amsellem, DV, MS, Diplomate ACVS , Erick L. Egger, DVM, Diplomate ACVS , and Daniel L. Wilson, Doct Vet, BS
631 - 637
Veterinary Surgery
July 2010

Objective: To (1) mechanically evaluate polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) columns of various sizes and compare them to connecting bar materials (carbon fiber composite, titanium, stainless steel) and (2) compare the properties of an intact PMMA column to those of an acrylic interface.

Study Design: Experimental mechanical study.

Sample Population: Experiment 1: 6 groups of 6 specimens each; experiment 2: 2 groups of 12 specimens each.

Methods: All specimens were tested in 3-point bending. Stiffness, yield strength, and ultimate strength values were calculated for each specimen.

Results: PMMA 1 columns (23.25 mm) compared favorably to titanium or stainless-steel bars. PMMA 3 columns (30.15 mm) and carbon fiber bars had similar yield strength but PMMA 3 columns were less stiff than carbon fiber bars. PMMA 3 columns had lower bending modulus and a higher variability in their mechanical properties than PMMA 1 or PMMA 2 (25.64 mm) columns. Acrylic interface specimens were less strong but as stiff as intact specimens.

Conclusion: An acrylic interface was easily created and had acceptable biomechanical characteristics.

Clinical Relevance: PMMA 2 and PMMA 3 columns are not recommended for clinical use at this time. Further tests are needed to analyze an acrylic patch in a more clinically relevant loading model.

Large animal: