Novel minimally invasive tape suture osteosynthesis for instabilities of the pubic symphysis: a biomechanical study

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2022 Sep;142(9):2235-2243. doi: 10.1007/s00402-021-03968-z. Epub 2021 May 29.


Introduction: Open book fractures are challenging injuries oftentimes requiring surgical treatment. The current treatment of choice is symphyseal plating, which requires extensive surgery and entirely limits physiological movement of the symphyseal joint, frequently resulting in implant failure. Therefore, we investigated the biomechanical properties of a semi-rigid implant (modified SpeedBridge) as a minimally invasive tape suture construct for the treatment of open book fractures and evaluated the superiority of two techniques of implementation: criss-cross vs. triangle technique.

Materials and methods: Nine synthetic symphyseal joints were dissected creating an open book fracture. The different osteosynthesis methods (plating, modified SpeedBridge in criss-cross/triangle technique) were then applied. All constructs underwent horizontal and vertical loading, simulating biomechanical forces while sitting, standing and walking. For statistical analysis, dislocation (mm) and stiffness (N/mm) were calculated.

Results: Symphyseal plating for the treatment of open book fractures proved to be a rigid osteosynthesis significantly limiting the physiological mobility of the symphyseal joint (dislocation: 0.08 ± 0.01 mm) compared to the tape sutures (dislocation: triangle technique 0.27 ± 0.07 mm, criss-cross technique 0.23 ± 0.05 mm) regarding horizontal tension (p < 0.01). Both modified SpeedBridge techniques showed sufficient biomechanical stability without one being superior to the other (p > 0.05 in all directions). Considering vertical loading, no statistical difference was found between all osteosynthesis methods (caudal: p = 0.41; cranial: p = 0.61).

Conclusions: Symphyseal plating proved to be the osteosynthesis method with the highest rigidity. The modified SpeedBridge as a semi-rigid suture construct provided statistically sufficient biomechanical stability while maintaining a minimum of symphyseal movement, consequently allowing ligamental healing of the injured joint without iatrogenic arthrodesis. Furthermore, both the criss-cross and the triangle technique displayed significant biomechanical stability without one method being superior.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Flexible osteosynthesis; Minimally invasive; Pelvic instability; Pubic symphysis; SpeedBridge™.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Plates
  • Bone Screws
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fractures, Bone* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Pubic Symphysis* / injuries
  • Sutures