Biomechanical comparison of humeral condyles with experimental intracondylar fissures immobilized with a transcondylar positional or a lag screw: An ex-vivo study in dogs

Tomas Serrano Crehuet, Pablo de Linares Tuduri, Jeffery Biskup
Vet Surg. 2021 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13714.

Objective: To compare the axial biomechanical properties of intracondylar humeral osteotomies fixed with 4.5 mm transcondylar positional or cortical lag screws.

Study design: Ex vivo study.

Sample population: Paired humeri from 21 canine cadavers.

Materials and methods: An intracondylar osteotomy was created on each humerus to mimic an intracondylar fissure. Paired humeri were randomly assigned to fixation with a positional or a lag screw. All specimens were radiographed postinstrumentation to document proper screw placement. Axial load was applied to the distal articular surface of the trochlea at a rate of 1 mm/s until a 40% decrease in load was measured. Specimens were assessed for mode of failure with visual inspection and radiographs.

Results: Stiffness (1236.7 ± 181 N/mm vs. 1050.8 ± 265 N/mm), yield load (3284.3 ± 1703 N vs. 2071.1 ± 740 N), and maximum load (7378.0 ± 1288 vs. 5793.7 ± 2373 N) were greater in constructs fixed with a positional rather than a lag screw (p = .0008, .044, and .040, respectively).

Conclusion: In our model, mechanical properties were improved when the transcondylar osteotomy was stabilized with a 4.5 mm positional screw rather than a lag screw.

Clinical significance: This ex vivo study suggests that a transcondylar lag screw and positional screw are not biomechanically equal. Additional in vivo studies are need to help with clinical decision making when prophylactically treating HIF.