In this study, a method was developed for distinguishing insertion and driving performance between different self-tapping bone screw designs. To measure screw starting load, torque and displacements, a test apparatus was developed utilizing a modified drill press with the capability to measure in-line torque, axial compression load, and axial displacement. Specimens were inserted into cadaver bone to measure a baseline response and a bone analog was developed to mimic the bicortical application of screws in the cadaver model. Recorded data could be used to measure a distinguishable screw starting load and the torque for the insertion of bone screws. The results were similar between the cadaver bone and the bone analog. The average insertion load ranged from 5.4 to 64.5 N in cadaver tests and 9.0–41.0 N in the construct tests. Average first cortex insertion torques ranged from 0.53 to 0.66 N-m in the cadaver tests and 0.29–0.32 N-m in the construct test. Average second cortex insertion torques ranged from 0.70 to 1.03 N-m in the cadaver tests and 0.60–0.63 N-m in the construct tests. This method successfully illuminated differences between several different self-tapping screw designs and was also successfully employed to determine the impact of design and manufacturing methods on screw performance. An interesting finding in this study is that axial starting load is very sensitive to screw tip design whereas insertion torque is not.
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The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr. Clifford Jones, MD for his professional opinions and assistance in conducting portions of this work.
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Kincaid, B., Schroder, L. & Mason, J. Measurement of Orthopedic Cortical Bone Screw Insertion Performance in Cadaver Bone and Model Materials. Exp Mech 47, 595–607 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11340-007-9056-6