Anterior internal fixator versus a femoral distractor and external fixation for sacroiliac joint compression and single stance gait testing: a mechanical study in synthetic bone
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the biomechanical stability and compressive forces across the sacroiliac (SI) joint of an anterior internal fixator compared to the femoral distractor and external fixator for vertically unstable pelvic fractures.
Five composite pelvises with a simulated APC type III injury fixed with a femoral distractor, external fixator, or anterior internal fixator were tested. A pressure-sensitive film (Tekscan) was placed in the disrupted SI joint recording the magnitude of force. Then, in a single-leg stance model (Instron machine), a load was applied through the sacrum. We recorded displacement at the pubic symphysis and SI joint using high-speed video. Peak load and displacement were measured, and axial stiffness was calculated. Values were compared using a Student’s t-test (p < 0.05).
The SI joint was compressed significantly (p < 0.001) more using the anterior internal fixator (18.9 N) and femoral distractor (18.6 N) than the two-pin external fixator (2.5 N). There was no significant difference between the anterior internal fixator and the femoral distractor in displacement at the SI joint. The pubic symphysis displaced less with the femoral distractor than the anterior internal fixator (5.5 mm vs. 4.1 mm; p < 0.05).
The anterior pedicle screw internal fixator allows for indirect compression across the sacroiliac joint that is superior to two-pin external fixation and comparable to the femoral distractor. The anterior internal fixator may be an option for temporary anterior pelvic fixation in situations where external fixation or the femoral distractor have otherwise been used.