Mechanical testing of scapular neck fracture fixation using a synthetic bone model

Mechanical testing of scapular neck fracture fixation using a synthetic bone model

Trauma can fracture the scapular neck. Typically, a single plate along the lateral scapula border affixes the glenoid fragment to the scapula. This method is limited by difficulty in screw placement, frequent excessive soft tissue dissection, and risk for neurovascular injury. Substituting 2 smaller plates bridging the scapular neck mitigates these limitations, but no comparative mechanical data between techniques exists. Therefore, we compared the mechanical properties of two constructs securing a simulated scapular neck fracture.

BACKGROUND:
Trauma can fracture the scapular neck. Typically, a single plate along the lateral scapula border affixes the glenoid fragment to the scapula. This method is limited by difficulty in screw placement, frequent excessive soft tissue dissection, and risk for neurovascular injury. Substituting 2 smaller plates bridging the scapular neck mitigates these limitations, but no comparative mechanical data between techniques exists. Therefore, we compared the mechanical properties of two constructs securing a simulated scapular neck fracture.

METHODS:
Twenty synthetic human scapulae underwent a templated scapular neck fracture. Repairs were performed with a single plate on the lateral scapular border (Column method), or two small plates parallel to the lateral border (Neck method). Measures of displacement, force, and stiffness were quantified during cyclic testing (20-150 N, 1 Hz, 1000 cycles) and loading to failure. Statistical comparisons were made with t-tests (p ≤ 0.050).

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