Double-Screw Osteosynthesis in an Unstable Scaphoid Fracture Model: A Biomechanical Comparison of Two Screw Configurations

J Hand Surg Am. 2022 Nov;47(11):1118.e1-1118.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2021.08.019. Epub 2021 Oct 22.


Purpose: Although there is evidence that a single headless compression screw is sufficient for fixation of most scaphoid fractures, double-screw osteosynthesis has been shown to result in higher failure strength and stiffness than a single screw. However, the biomechanical effect of different screw configurations has not been determined.

Methods: A standardized unstable fracture model was produced in 28 cadaveric scaphoids. Specimens were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 fixation groups using 2 internal compression screws positioned in either the sagittal or coronal plane. A specimen-specific 3-dimensionally-printed customized screw placement and osteotomy device was developed using computer-aided design-generated models derived from computed tomography scan data of each individual scaphoid. Load to failure and stiffness of the repair constructs were evaluated using a mechanical testing system.

Results: There were no significant differences in size, weight, and density between the scaphoid specimens. The average distance between screws was significantly greater in the sagittal group than in the coronal group. There were no significant differences between the coronal and sagittal aligned double screws in load to 2 mm displacement (mean coronal 180.9 ± 109.7 N; mean sagittal 156.0 ± 85.8 N), load to failure (mean coronal 275.9 ± 150.6 N; mean sagittal 248.0 ± 109.5 N), stiffness (mean coronal 111.7 ± 67.3 N/mm; mean sagittal 101.2 ± 45.1 N/mm), and energy absorption (mean coronal 472.6 ± 261.4 mJ; mean sagittal 443.5 ± 272.7 mJ).

Conclusions: There are no significant biomechanical differences between the sagittal or coronal aligned double headless compression screws in a scaphoid fracture model with bone loss.

Clinical relevance: In cases where double-screw fixation of the scaphoid is being considered, the placement of double screws can be at the discretion of the surgeon, and can be dictated by ease of access, surgical preference, and fracture orientation.

Keywords: Biomechanics; computer-aided design; double screw; fracture; scaphoid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Screws
  • Cadaver
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fractures, Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone* / surgery
  • Hand Injuries*
  • Humans
  • Scaphoid Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Scaphoid Bone* / injuries
  • Scaphoid Bone* / surgery
  • Wrist Injuries*