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Higher stability with locking plates in hand surgery? Biomechanical investigation of the TriLock system in a fracture model

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The aim of this study was to determine the biomechanical characteristics of locking plates with the TriLock system with different design and screw settings compared to a non-locking plate in a diaphyseal metacarpal fracture.


Oblique diaphyseal shaft fractures in porcine metacarpal bones were created in a biomechanical fracture model. After reduction they were fixed with three different locking plates with the TriLock interlocking mechanism or a non-locking linear plate in mono- or bicortical screw fixations. In load to failure tests the maximum load and stiffness were measured.


For linear plates, the maximum load was higher for the non-locking plate compared with the locking plate. The maximum load could be increased for the locking plates using a double-row design and a higher screw number. No differences were found for the stiffness between all groups. In contrast to the non-locking plate, the mode of failure of the locking plates in many cases (86 %) was a loss of the interlocking mechanism.


The results suggest that the locking plates with the TriLock system achieve no higher stability compared to a non-locking plate in load to failure tests. Adaptions to increase the stability of the interlocking mechanism are desirable.

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The authors would like to thank Christopher Gebhardt for supporting the experimental study and result calculation. Furthermore, they would like to thank Gabi Walter from Heraeus Medical GmbH for supplying the bone cement, Palacos. The authors thank Torsten Blunk for critically reviewing the manuscript.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Stefanie Doht.

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Doht, S., Jansen, H., Meffert, R. et al. Higher stability with locking plates in hand surgery? Biomechanical investigation of the TriLock system in a fracture model. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 36, 1641–1646 (2012).

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