Biomechanical properties of five different currently used implants for open-wedge high tibial osteotomy.
- Sports Medicine Research Laboratory
BACKGROUND: As several new tibial osteotomy plates recently appeared on the market, the aim of the present study was to compare mechanical static and fatigue strength of three newly designed plates with gold standard plates for the treatment of medial knee joint osteoarthritis. METHODS: Sixteen fourth-generation tibial bone composites underwent a medial open-wedge high tibial osteotomy (HTO) according to standard techniques, using five TomoFix standard plates, five PEEKPower plates and six iBalance implants. Static compression load to failure and load-controlled cyclic fatigue failure tests were performed. Forces, horizontal and vertical displacements were measured; rotational permanent plastic deformations, maximal displacement ranges in the hysteresis loops of the cyclic loading responses and dynamic stiffness were determined. RESULTS: Static compression load to failure tests revealed that all plates showed sufficient stability up to 2400 N without any signs of opposite cortex fracture, which occurred above this load in all constructs at different load levels. During the fatigue failure tests, screw breakage in the iBalance group and opposite cortex fractures in all constructs occurred only under physiological loading conditions (<2400 N). The highest fatigue strength in terms of maximal load and number of cycles performed prior to failure was observed for the ContourLock group followed by the iBalance implants, the TomoFix standard (std) and small stature (sm) plates. The PEEKPower group showed the lowest fatigue strength. CONCLUSIONS: All plates showed sufficient stability under static loading. Compared to the TomoFix and the PEEKPower plates, the ContourLock plate and iBalance implant showed a higher mechanical fatigue strength during cyclic fatigue testing. These data suggest that both mechanical static and fatigue strength increase with a wider proximal T-shaped plate design together with diverging proximal screws as used in the ContourLock plate or a closed-wedge construction as in the iBalance design. Mechanical strength of the bone-implant constructs decreases with a narrow T-shaped proximal end design and converging proximal screws (TomoFix) or a short vertical plate design (PEEKPower Plate). Whenever high mechanical strength is required, a ContourLock or iBalance plate should be selected.