The objective of this study was to compare the strength and stiffness of various fixation methods applied to the long bones of the rabbit forelimb.
Twenty rabbit radius/ulna and 20 rabbit humeri were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups. Control bones remained intact, whereas all others were osteotomized to create fracture models that were fixated with locking plate and locking screws (LP), veterinary cuttable plate (VCP) with cortical screws, or external skeletal fixator constructs (ESF), and tested in 4-point bending until failure. Load/deformation curves were generated for each sample and used to calculate stiffness (slope of the curve) and strength (load to failure).
Intact controls had greater strength and stiffness than any fixation techniques in the rabbit radius/ulna and humeri samples. Locking plate and VCP constructs had greater stiffness than ESF when applied to the radius, whereas locking plate constructs were stronger than VCP or ESF when applied to the humerus.
Overall, the LP construct had characteristics most closely resembling those of the intact control regarding strength in the humerus. Therefore, fracture fixation with a LP would provide the greatest strength in humeral fracture repairs in the rabbit.