Supplemental Fixation of Supracondylar Distal Femur Fractures: A Biomechanical Comparison of Dual-Plate and Plate-Nail Constructs

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This biomechanical study compares the effectiveness of dual-plate (DP) and plate-nail (PN) constructs for fixation of supracondylar distal femur fractures in synthetic and cadaveric specimens.
Twenty-four synthetic osteoporotic femurs were used to compare 4 constructs in an extra-articular, supracondylar fracture gap model (OTA/AO type 33-A3). Constructs included: (1) distal lateral femoral locking plate (DLFLP), (2) retrograde intramedullary nail (rIMN), (3) DLFLP + medial locking compression plate (DP construct), and (4) DLFLP + rIMN (PN construct). DP and PN constructs were then directly compared using 7 matched pairs of cadaveric femurs. Specimens underwent cyclic loading in torsion and compression. Biomechanical effectiveness was measured by quantifying the load-dependent stiffness of each construct.
In synthetic osteoporotic femurs, the DP construct had the greatest torsional stiffness (1.76 ± 0.33 Nm/deg) followed by the rIMN (1.67 ± 0.14 Nm/deg), PN construct (1.44 ± 0.17 Nm/deg), and DLFLP (0.68 ± 0.10 Nm/deg) (P