OBJECTIVE: To compare mechanical properties (stiffness, yield load, failure load, and deformation at failure) of 2 pearl-type locking plate system (PLS) constructs (PLS 1 and PLS 2) in a simulated fracture gap model and to compare screw push-out forces of the 2 PLSs with and without plate contouring.
SAMPLE: 40 PLS constructs.
PROCEDURES: Mechanical properties of uncontoured PLS 1 (n = 8) and PLS 2 (8) constructs were evaluated in synthetic bone-plate models under axial compression. Screw push-out forces were evaluated in 6 uncontoured and 6 contoured PLSs of each type. Variables of interest were compared between PLS groups and between contoured and uncontoured plates by statistical methods.
RESULTS: Yield and failure loads were higher in the PLS 1 group than in the PLS 2 group, but stiffness did not differ significantly between groups. All constructs failed by plate bending, with greater deformation in the PLS 2 group. Push-out force to screw-plate uncoupling was higher in the PLS 2 group than in the PLS 1 group for uncontoured and contoured plates. Locking mechanism failure of PLS 1 specimens was through screw-thread stripping. The PLS 2 specimens failed by node deformation followed by screwhead stripping.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Distinct mechanical differences were identified between the 2 PLSs. The clinical relevance of these differences is unknown. Further research including cyclic fatigue testing is needed to reveal more clinically pertinent information.