Biomechanical testing of locking and nonlocking plates in the canine scapula.

Acquaviva AE, Miller EI, Eisenmann DJ, Stone RT, Kraus KH.
2012 Nov

Locking plates have been shown to offer improved fixation in fractures involving either osteoporotic bone or bone with lesser screw pullout strength, such as thin and flat bones. Fractures of the scapular body are one type of fracture where the screw pullout strength using conventional plate fixation may not be sufficient to overcome physiologic forces. The purpose of this study was to compare the pullout strengths of locking plates to conventional nonlocking plates in the canine scapula. A 2.7 mm string of pearls plate (SOP) and a 2.7 mm limited contact dynamic compression plate (LC-DCP) were applied with similar divergent screws to the supraspinatus fossa of the scapula. Forces perpendicular to the plates were applied and both the loads at failure and modes of failure were recorded. No differences were noted in loads at failure between the two plating systems. Although the modes of failure were not significantly different, the SOP constructs tended to fail more often by bone slicing and coring, whereas the LC-DCP constructs failed primarily by screw stripping. Neither of the plate systems used in this study demonstrated a distinct mechanical advantage. The application and limitations of locking plate systems in various clinical situations require further study.