Two reconstruction plates provide superior stability of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures in comparison to single plating - A biomechanical study

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2020 Dec;80:105199. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2020.105199. Epub 2020 Oct 21.


Background: Displaced midshaft fractures are the most common surgically treated clavicle fractures. However, they are associated with high complication rates following plating due to fixation failure in terms of plate breakage, screw breakage and/or screw loosening. The aim of this study was to compare the biomechanical competence of three different plating techniques for fixation of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures.

Methods: Displaced midshaft fractures type 2B according to the Robinson classification were simulated by standardized osteotomy gap in 18 synthetic clavicles, assigned to three groups (n = 6) for plating with either superiorly placed Dynamic Compression Plate (width/thickness 11.0/4.0 mm), locked Superior Anterior Clavicle Locking Compression Plate (width/thickness 10.2/2.0 mm), or two non-locked Reconstruction Plates placed superiorly and anteriorly (width/thickness 10.0/2.8 mm). Each specimen was cyclically tested at 3 Hz under craniocaudal cantilever bending, superimposed with torsion around the shaft axis over 720'000 cycles or until failure occurred. The latter was defined by plate breakage, screw breakage or screw loosening.

Findings: Initial construct stiffness (N/mm) and cycles to failure in group Reconstruction Plates (22.30 ± 4.07; 712'778 ± 17'691) were significantly higher compared with both groups Compression Plate (12.53 ± 2.09; 348'541 ± 212'941) and Locking Plate (4.19 ± 0.46; 19'536 ± 3'586), p ≤ 0.019. In addition, these two outcomes were significantly higher in group Compression Plate versus Locking Plate, p ≤ 0.029.

Interpretation: Double plating of unstable midshaft clavicle fractures with reconstruction plates seems to provide superior fixation stability under dynamic loading, when compared to single compression or locked plating, whereas the latter is associated with inferior performance.

Keywords: Biomechanical testing; Clavicle; Dynamic compression plate; Locking compression plate; Midshaft fracture; Reconstruction plate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Plates*
  • Clavicle / injuries*
  • Clavicle / surgery*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / instrumentation*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanical Phenomena*