Pin fixation of Salter-II proximal humeral fractures in adolescents approaching skeletal maturity has potential complications that can be avoided with single-screw fixation. However, the strength of screw fixation relative to parallel and diverging pin fixation is unknown. To compare the biomechanical fixation strength between these fixation modalities, we used synthetic composite humeri, and then compared these results in composite bone with cadaveric humeri specimens.
Parallel pinning, divergent pinning, and single-screw fixation repairs were performed on synthetic composite humeri with simulated fractures. Six specimens of each type were tested in axial loading and other 6 were tested in torsion. Five pair of cadaveric humeri were tested with diverging pins and single screws for comparison.
Single-screw fixation was statistically stronger than pin fixation in axial and torsional loading in both composite and actual bone. There was no statistical difference between composite and cadaveric bone specimens.
Single-screw fixation can offer greater stability to adolescent Salter-II fractures than traditional pinning.
Single-screw fixation should be considered as a viable alternative to percutaneous pin fixation in transitional patients with little expected remaining growth.