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26.12.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2019 Open Access

Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing 5/2019

Biomechanical considerations in the design of patient-specific fixation plates for the distal radius

Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing > Ausgabe 5/2019
G. Caiti, J. G. G. Dobbe, E. Bervoets, M. Beerens, S. D. Strackee, G. J. Strijkers, G. J. Streekstra


Use of patient-specific fixation plates is promising in corrective osteotomy of the distal radius. So far, custom plates were mostly shaped to closely fit onto the bone surface and ensure accurate positioning of bone segments, however, without considering the biomechanical needs for bone healing. In this study, we investigated how custom plates can be optimized to stimulate callus formation under daily loading conditions. We calculated implant stress distributions, axial screw forces, and interfragmentary strains via finite element analysis (FEA) and compared these parameters for a corrective distal radius osteotomy model fixated by standard and custom plates. We then evaluated these parameters in a modified custom plate design with alternative screw configuration, plate size, and thickness on 5 radii models. Compared to initial design, in the modified custom plate, the maximum stress was reduced, especially under torsional load (− 31%). Under bending load, implants with 1.9-mm thickness induced an average strain (median = 2.14%, IQR = 0.2) in the recommended range (2–10%) to promote callus formation. Optimizing the plate shape, width, and thickness in order to keep the fixation stable while guaranteeing sufficient strain to enhance callus formation can be considered as a design criteria for future, less invasive, custom distal radius plates.

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