Influence of Screw-Hole Defect Size on the Biomechanical Properties of Feline Femora in an Ex Vivo Model

QiCai Jason Hoon, Tian Wang, Evelyn Hall, William R Walsh, Kenneth A Johnson
Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2021 Sep 6. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1735551.

Objective: The study aims to evaluate the biomechanical properties of feline femora with craniocaudal screw-hole defects of increasing diameter, subjected to three-point bending and torsion to failure at two different loading rates.

Study design: Eighty femoral pairs were harvested from adult cat cadavers. For each bending and torsional experiment, there were five groups (n = 8 pairs) of increasing craniocaudal screw-hole defects (intact, 1.5 mm, 2.0 mm, 2.4 mm, 2.7mm). Mid-diaphyseal bicortical defects were created with an appropriate pilot drill-hole and tapped accordingly. Left and right femora of each pair were randomly assigned to a destructive loading protocol at low (10 mm/min; 0.5 degrees/s) or high rates (3,000 mm/min; 90 degrees/s) respectively. Stiffness, load/torque-to-failure, energy-to-failure and fracture morphology were recorded.

Results: Defect size to bone diameter ratio was significantly different between defect groups within bending and torsional experiments respectively (intact [0%; 0%], 1.5 mm [17.8%; 17.1%], 2.0 mm [22.8%; 23.5%], 2.4 mm [27.8%; 27.6%], 2.7 mm [31.1%; 32.4%]) (p < 0.001). No significant differences in stiffness and load/torque-to-failure were noted with increasing deficit sizes in all loading conditions. Screw-hole (2.7 mm) defects up to 33% bone diameter had a maximum of 20% reduction in bending and torsional strength compared with intact bone at both loading rates. Stiffness and load/torque-to-failure in both bending and torsion were increased in bones subjected to higher loading rates (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Screw-hole defects up to 2.7 mm did not significantly reduce feline bone failure properties in this ex vivo femoral study. These findings support current screw-size selection guidelines of up to 33% bone diameter as appropriate for use in feline fracture osteosynthesis.