Background: The field of orthopaedics is a constantly evolving discipline. Despite the historical success of plates, pins and screws in fracture reduction and stabilisation, there is a continuing search for more efficient and improved methods of fracture fixation. The aim of this study was to evaluate shape-memory staples and to compare them to a currently used implant for internal fracture fixation. Multi-plane bending stability and interfragmentary compression were assessed across a simulated osteotomy using single and double-staple fixation and compared to a bridging plate. Methods: Transverse osteotomies were made in polyurethane blocks (20 × 20 × 120 mm) and repairs were performed with one (n = 6), or two (n = 6) 20 mm nitinol staples, or an eight-hole 2.7 mm quarter-tubular plate (n = 6). A pressure film was placed between fragments to determine contact area and compressive forces before and after loading. Loading consisted of multi-planar four-point bending with an actuator displacement of 3 mm. Gapping between segments was recorded to determine loads corresponding to a 2 mm gap and residual post-load gap. Results: Staple fixations showed statistically significant higher mean compressive loads and contact areas across the osteotomy compared to plate fixations. Double-staple constructs were superior to single-staple constructs for both parameters (p < 0.001). Double-staple constructs were significantly stiffer and endured significantly larger loads before 2 mm gap formation compared to other constructs in the dorsoventral plane (p < 0.001). However, both staple constructs were significantly less stiff and tolerated considerably lower loads before 2 mm gap formation when compared to plate constructs in the ventrodorsal and right-to-left lateral loading planes. Loading of staple constructs showed significantly reduced permanent gap formation in all planes except ventrodorsally when compared to plate constructs. Conclusions: Although staple fixations were not as stable as plate fixations in particular loading planes, double-staple constructs demonstrated the most consistent bending stiffness in all planes. Placing two perpendicular staples is suggested instead of single-staples whenever possible, with at least one staple applied on the compression side of the anticipated loading to improve construct stability.
- Internal fixation
- Shape memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine