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Comparison of Fixation Techniques for Acetabular Fractures Involving the Anterior Column with Disruption of the Quadrilateral Plate

A Biomechanical Study

May, Christian, PhD1; Egloff, Mike, MD2; Butscher, Andre, PhD1; Keel, Marius Johann Baptist, MD2; Aebi, This, MSc3; Siebenrock, Klaus Arno, MD2; Bastian, Johannes Dominik, MD2,a

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.17.00295
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Background: In elderly patients who have sustained an acetabular fracture involving disruption of the quadrilateral plate (QLP), postoperative loading of the joint beyond the level of partial weight-bearing can result in medial redisplacement of the QLP. The purpose of this biomechanical study was to compare the performances of 4 different fixation constructs intended to prevent medial redisplacement of the QLP.

Methods: Anterior column posterior hemitransverse (ACPHT) fractures with disruption of the QLP were created on synthetic hemipelves (fourth-generation Sawbones models) and subsequently stabilized with (1) a 12-hole plate bridging the QLP (Group 1), (2) the plate with added periarticular screws along the QLP (Group 2), (3) the plate combined with an infrapectineal buttress plate (Group 3), or (4) the plate with the added periarticular screws as well as the buttress plate (Group 4). The point of load application on the acetabulum was defined to be the same as the point of application of maximum vertical hip contact force during normal walking. Loads were applied to simulate either partial weight-bearing (20 cycles, from 35 to 350 N) or inadvertent supraphysiologic loads (linearly increasing loads until the onset of failure, defined as fragment displacement of >3 mm). A universal testing machine was synchronized with a digital image correlation system to optically track redisplacement at the QLP. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05.

Results: During experimental simulation of partial weight-bearing, maximum fracture step openings never exceeded 2 mm. During simulation of inadvertent supraphysiologic load, the median load to failure was higher (p < 0.05) in Group 2 (962 N; range, 798 to 1,000 N) and Group 4 (985 N; range, 887 to 1,000 N) compared with Group 1 (445 N; range, 377 to 583 N) and Group 3 (671 N; range, 447 to 720 N).

Conclusions: All 4 fixation constructs performed in an acceptable manner on testing with simulated partial weight-bearing. Only additional periarticular screws along the QLP increased the fixation strength.

Clinical Relevance: Redisplacement of the QLP resulting in an incongruency of the hip joint has been associated with poor long-term outcomes. Within the constraints of this study, periarticular long screws were superior to infrapectineal buttress plates in preventing medial redisplacement of the QLP.

1RMS Foundation, Bettlach, Switzerland

2Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Bern, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland

3DePuy Synthes Trauma, Zuchwil, Switzerland

aE-mail address for J.D. Bastian: johannes.bastian@insel.ch

Copyright © 2018 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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