Fatigue analysis of plates used for fracture stabilization in small dogs and cats

Scott P. Hammel, Liz Pluhar, Roberto E. Novo, Craig A. Bourgeault, Larry J Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective - To evaluate the fatigue life of stacked and single, veterinary cuttable plates (VCP) and small, limited contact, dynamic compression plates (LC-DCP). Study Design - In vitro biomechanical study. Methods - Fracture models (constructs; n = 8) were assembled for each of 6 groups all with 8-hole plates: 2.0 mm LC-DCP; 2.4 mm LC-DCP; single 1.5/2.0 mm VCP; stacked 1.5/2.0 mm VCP; single 2.0/2.7 mm VCP; and stacked 2.0/2.7 mm VCP. Plate(s) were secured to 2 polyvinylchloride pipe lengths, mounted in a testing system with a custom jig, and subjected to axial loading (10-100 N) for 1,000,000 cycles at 10 Hz or until failure. Differences in number of cycles to failure among groups were compared. Failure mode was determined. Results - All LC-DCP and single VCP constructs failed before 1,000,000 cycles. Stacked 2.0/2.7 mm VCP constructs withstood 1,000,000 cycles without failure. ANOVA and Fisher's least significant difference tests demonstrated significantly more cycles to failure for the stacked 1.5/2.0 mm VCP and stacked 2.0/2.7 mm VCP compared with the single 1.5/2.0 mm VCP, single 2.0/2.7 mm VCP, 2.0 mm LC-DCP, or 2.4 mm LC-DCP. Constructs that failed did so through a screw hole adjacent to the gap. Conclusion - Stacked VCP constructs have greater fatigue lives than comparably sized LC-DCP or single VCP constructs. Plates with 2.4 mm screws were not significantly different from the comparable construct with 2.0 mm screws. Clinical Relevance - Although these data reveal that stacked VCP create a superior construct with respect to cyclic fatigue, surgeons must decide whether this is a clinical advantage on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006

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