Failure Analysis of the Fractured Wires in Sternal Perichronal Loops

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2011 Oct;4(7):1004-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.02.015. Epub 2011 Mar 6.


We report failure analysis of sternal wires in two cases in which a perichronal fixation technique was used to close the sternotomy. Various characteristics of the retrieved wires were compared to those of unused wires of the same grade and same manufacturer and with surgical wire specifications. In both cases, wire fracture was un-branched and transgranular and proceeded by a high cycle fatigue process, apparently in the absence of corrosion. However, stress anlysis indicates that the effective stress produced during strong coughing is lower than the yield strength. Our findings suggest that in order to reduce the risk for sternal dehiscence, the diameter of the wire used should be increased.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Equipment Failure Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Sternotomy / instrumentation*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties
  • Suture Techniques / instrumentation*