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Mechanical considerations in fracture fixation

By Pushpanjali Krishnakanth


Bone’s capacity to repair following trauma is both unique and astounding. However, fractures sometimes fail to heal. Hence, the goal of fracture treatment is the restoration of bone’s structure, composition and function. Fracture fixation devices should provide a favourable mechanical and biological environment for healing to occur. The use of internal fixation is increasing as these devices may be applied with less invasive techniques. Recent studies suggest however that, internal fixation devices may be overly stiff and suppresses callus formation. The degree of mechanical stability influences the healing outcome. This is determined by the stiffness of the fixation device and the degree of limb loading. This project aims to characterise the fixation stability of an internal plate fixation device and the influence of modifications to its configuration on implant stability. As there are no standardised methods for the determination of fixation stiffness, the first part of this project aims to compares different methodologies and determines the most appropriate method to characterise the stiffness of internal plate fixators. The stiffness of a fixation device also influences the physiological loads experienced by the healing bone. Since bone adapts to this applied load by undergoing changes through a remodelling process, undesirable changes could occur during the period of treatment with an implant. The second part of this project aims to develop a methodology to quantify remodelling changes. This quantification is expected to aid our understanding of the changes in pattern due to implant related remodelling and on the factors driving the remodelling process. Knowledge gained in this project is useful to understand how the configuration of internal fixation devices can promote timely healing and prevent undesirable bone loss

Topics: bone healing, bone density, bone geometry, bone remodelling, contra-lateral bone, fixation stability, internal fixation, fixator configuration
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2012
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