INTRODUCTION: Bridge plating of distal femur fractures with lateral locking plates is susceptible to varus collapse, fixation failure, and nonunion. While medial and lateral dual plating has been described in clinical series, the biomechanical effects of dual plating of distal femur fractures have yet to be clearly defined. The purpose of this study was to compare dual plating to lateral locked bridge plating alone in a cadaveric distal femur gap osteotomy model.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gap osteotomies were created in eight matched pairs of cadaveric female distal femurs (average age: 64 yrs (standard deviation ± 4.4 yrs); age range: 57-68 yrs;) to simulate comminuted extraarticular distal femur fractures (AO/OTA 33A). Eight femurs underwent fixation with lateral locked plates alone and were matched with eight femurs treated with dual plating: lateral locked plates with supplemental medial small fragment non-locking fixation. Mechanical testing was performed on an ElectroPuls E10000 materials testing system using a 10kN/100 Nm biaxial load cell. Specimens were subject to 25,000 cycles of cyclic loading from 100-1000N at 2Hz.RESULTS: Two (2/8) specimens in the lateral only group failed catastrophically prior to completion of testing. All dual plated specimens survived the testing regimen. Dual plated specimens demonstrated significantly less coronal plane displacement (median 0.2 degrees, interquartile range [IQR], 0.0-0.5 degrees) compared to 2.0 degrees (IQR 1.9-3.3, p=0.02) in the lateral plate only group. Dual plated specimens demonstrated greater bending stiffness compared to the lateral plated group (median 29.0kN/degree, IQR 1.5-68.2kN/degree vs median 0.50kN/degree, IQR 0.23-2.28kN/degree, p=0.03).CONCLUSION: Contemporary fixation methods with a distal femur fractures are susceptible to mechanical failure and nonunion with lateral plates alone. Dual plate fixation in a cadaveric model of distal femur fractures underwent significantly less displacement under simulated weight bearing conditions and demonstrated greater stiffness than lateral plating alone. Given the significant clinical failure rates of lateral bridge plating in distal femur fractures, supplemental fixation should be considered, and dual plating of distal femurs augments mechanical stability in a clinically relevant magnitude.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.injury.2021.04.056
View details for PubMedID 33985754