Angulated screw placement in the lateral condylar buttress plate for supracondylar femoral fractures

Peter T. Simonian, Greg J. Thompson, Will Emley, Richard M. Harrington, Stephen K. Benirschke, Marc F. Swiontkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Certain supracondylar femoral fractures are not amenable to internal fixation with fixed angle devices. In these instances, the condylar buttress plate is the recommended alternative; however, this is a less rigid device. Because of the decreased rigidity and strength of this device, there is a tendency toward varus angulation and malunion. In six fresh-frozen human knee specimens, segmental osteotomies were creased to mimic supracondylar femoral fractures. The medial cortex was completely removed to make the fracture unstable to varus deformity. The fracture was fixed with a lateral condylar buttress plate using 4.5 mm screws. Each specimen was tested once with all the screws installed perpendicular to the plate, and again with the middle screw, just proximal to the fracture, angled 45 degrees diagonally across the fracture into the subchondral bone of the medial femoral condyle. For the construct with all screws placed perpendicular to the buttress plate, the initial stiffness was 410 N/mm on the first cycle, and 796 N/mm after 1000 cycles, under no load, of 0.91 mm. For the diagonal screw condition, the average magnitude for all six specimens was 0.42 mm. This simple means of screw angulation in the plate strengthened the overall construct to resist the tendency toward varus deformity. The attractive features include the ease of application, and the use of an existing construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes


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