Titanium mesh as a low-profile alternative for tension-band augmentation in patella fracture fixation: A biomechanical study.
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We performed a simple biomechanical study to compare the fixation strength of titanium mesh with traditional tension-band augmentation, which is a standard treatment for transverse patella fractures. We hypothesised that titanium mesh augmentation is not inferior in fixation strength to the standard treatment.Twenty-four synthetic patellae were tested. Twelve were fixed with stainless steel wire and parallel cannulated screws. Twelve were fixed with parallel cannulated screws, augmented with anterior titanium mesh and four screws. A custom test fixture was developed to simulate a knee flexed to 90°. A uniaxial force was applied to the simulated extensor mechanism at this angle. A non-inferiority study design was used to evaluate ultimate force required for failure of each construct as a measure of fixation strength. Stiffness of the bone/implant construct, fracture gap immediately prior to failure, and modes of failure are also reported.The mean difference in force at failure was -23.0N (95% CI: -123.6 to 77.6N) between mesh and wire constructs, well within the pre-defined non-inferiority margin of -260N. Mean stiffness of the mesh and wire constructs were 19.42N/mm (95% CI: 18.57-20.27N/mm) and 19.49N/mm (95% CI: 18.64-20.35N/mm), respectively. Mean gap distance for the mesh constructs immediately prior to failure was 2.11mm (95% CI: 1.35-2.88mm) and 3.87mm (95% CI: 2.60-5.13mm) for wire constructs.Titanium mesh augmentation is not inferior to tension-band wire augmentation when comparing ultimate force required for failure in this simplified biomechanical model. Results also indicate that stiffness of the two constructs is similar but that the mesh maintains a smaller fracture gap prior to failure. The results of this study indicate that the use of titanium mesh plating augmentation as a low-profile alternative to tension-band wiring for fixation of transverse patella fractures warrants further investigation.Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.