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Baumbach, Sebastian Felix; Dall'Ara, Enrico; Weninger, Patrick; Antoni, Anna; Traxler, Hannes; Doerr, Martin; Zysset, Philippe K. (2012): Assessment of a novel biomechanical fracture model for distal radius fractures. In: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 13:252


Background: Distal radius fractures (DRF) are one of the most common fractures and often need surgical treatment, which has been validated through biomechanical tests. Currently a number of different fracture models are used, none of which resemble the in vivo fracture location. The aim of the study was to develop a new standardized fracture model for DRF (AO-23.A3) and compare its biomechanical behavior to the current gold standard. Methods: Variable angle locking volar plates (ADAPTIVE, Medartis) were mounted on 10 pairs of fresh-frozen radii. The osteotomy location was alternated within each pair (New: 10 mm wedge 8 mm / 12 mm proximal to the dorsal / volar apex of the articular surface; Gold standard: 10 mm wedge 20 mm proximal to the articular surface). Each specimen was tested in cyclic axial compression (increasing load by 100 N per cycle) until failure or -3 mm displacement. Parameters assessed were stiffness, displacement and dissipated work calculated for each cycle and ultimate load. Significance was tested using a linear mixed model and Wald test as well as t-tests. Results: 7 female and 3 male pairs of radii aged 74 +/- 9 years were tested. In most cases (7/10), the two groups showed similar mechanical behavior at low loads with increasing differences at increasing loads. Overall the novel fracture model showed a significant different biomechanical behavior than the gold standard model (p < 0,001). The average final loads resisted were significantly lower in the novel model (860 N +/- 232 N vs. 1250 N +/- 341 N; p = 0.001). Conclusion: The novel biomechanical fracture model for DRF more closely mimics the in vivo fracture site and shows a significantly different biomechanical behavior with increasing loads when compared to the current gold standard.