Biomechanical evaluation of peak reverse torque (PRT) in a dynamic compression plate-screw construct used in a goat tibia segmental defect model

Authors: Remigiusz M. Grzeskowiak, Carrie Wheeler, Elizabeth Taylor, James Lillich, James Roush, Alexandru S. Biris, David E. Anderson

Publication: BMC Veterinary Research, Volume 15, Issue 321, pp. 1-7, 2019


BACKGROUND: Peak reverse torque (PRT) is a valid method to evaluate implants’ secondary stability in the healing bone. The secondary stability is achieved by the implant over time and it has been positively correlated with the implants’ osseointegration level. In other words, peak reverse torque is the force required to break the bone-implant interface. The purpose of this study was to compare the peak reverse torque for the self-tapping and non-self-tapping screws used in a dynamic compression plate-screw-bone construct after 60 days of loading when used to stabilize 2.5-cm defects in the tibia of goats. The second objective was to compare the peak removal torque of the screws placed in the different positions to evaluate the impact of construct biomechanics on implants osseointegration.

RESULTS: In total, 176 non-self-tapping screws and 66 self-tapping screws were used to fix the 8-holes dynamic compression plates to the bones. The screws were placed in the tibiae from proximal (position sites 1,2, 3) to distal (position sites 4,5,6) and were removed 60 days post-implantation. The animals remained weight-bearing throughout the study period. The screws placed in the proximal diaphysis had significantly less peak reverse torque than screws placed in the distal diaphysis in both groups (p < 0.05). The peak reverse torque resistance was also significantly less for the non-self-tapping screws as compared with the self-tapping screws (p < 0.05). The intracortical fractures in the trans-cortex occurred significantly more frequently during the placement of non-self-tapping screws (p < 0.05) as compared with self-tapping screws (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, we concluded that self-tapping screws may be expected to maintain a more stable bone-implant interface during the first 60 days of loading as compared with non-self-tapping screws. This should be a consideration for orthopedic surgeons and scientists using bone plates to stabilize non-load sharing fractures when a stable plate-screw-bone interface is needed to ensure prolonged stability.

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