Evaluation of Unicortical Locking Screw Placement for Torsional Loads in Distal Radius Fractures: A Biomechanical Study in Cadavers

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BackgroundWe aimed to compare bio-mechanical outcomes of short-length 75%-length uni-cortical screw (SL75UCS) and full-length 100%-length screws (FL100S) under axial compression (AXC) and torsional compression (TRC) in cadaveric distal radius volar plate model.MethodologyA total of 20 wrists from 10 fresh frozen cadavers were included. A 2.5 mm titanium alloy distal radius anatomical plate was placed to the distal radii in full anatomical position, just proximal to the watershed line. Three bi-cortical screws to the shaft of the radius, followed by uni-cortical drilling for distal screwing were placed. Measurement by pulling the drill once it reached the opposite cortex was applied. We selected the screw lengths such that they corresponded to the SL75UCS. In the same configuration for each of the cadavers, we delivered six screws from distal radius holes of the anatomical plate. An oscillating handsaw was used to create an extra-articular distal radius fracture model (AO 23-A3.2). We created a dorsal AP model by performing a 1-cm wedge osteotomy from the dorsal aspect. Complete separation of the volar cortex was achieved. Potting was performed by embedding the shaft of the prepared radius into the polyurethane medium. We placed aluminum apparatus into the distal end to ensure applying of AXC and TRC in bio-mechanistic tests.ResultsNo statistically significant difference of stiffness between the SL75UCS and FL100S both under AXC (p=0.88) and TRC (p=0.82). SL75UCS and FL100S groups did not differ in elastic limit under AXC (p=0.71) and TRC (p=0.71). Maximal force on SL75UCS and FL100S groups were also similar under both AXC (p=0.71) and TRC (p=0.50).ConclusionsOur study findings suggest that drilling the dorsal cortex may not be necessary in the management of distal radius fractures. Instead, utilizing SL75UCS could serve as a viable alternative. This approach offers potential advantages in reducing the risk of extensor tendon complications associated with drilling or screw protrusion. It is a safe method under torsional load to avoid drilling of the dorsal cortex and SL75UCS could be performed in order to prevent from extensor tendon complications secondary to drilling or screw protrusion.


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bi-cortical screw, torsional load, volar plate, uni-cortical screw, distal radius fracture


Cureus Journal Of Medical Science

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