Methyl methacrylate in external fixation of supracondylar humerus fractures: An experimental study
ACAR, Mehmet Ali
AYDIN, Bahattin Kerem
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Supracondylar humerus fractures are common fractures around the elbow. Open fractures, comminuted metaphyseal fractures and also fractures with bone loss may need to be treated with external fixators. The aim of this study is to compare two different external fixators, tubular external fixators and polymethyl methacrylate with K wires external fixators, with regard to stiffness and stability for metaphyseal-diaphyseal osteotomies of distal humerus close to the joint. Six matched pairs (24 specimens) of second-generation sawbone humerus were prepared in a standard fashion to create a metaphyseal fracture, 5 cm proximal to the distal joint line of humerus and were randomly divided into two groups of 12 specimens each. Each sawbone humerus was osteotomized transversely at the mid-olecranon fossa with a 2-mm oscillating saw to simulate a Gartland type III fracture. The osteotomy was then reduced and stabilized using two different external fixation methods: carbon tubular external fixator with Schanz screws and methyl methacrylate with multiple K wires. Three-point bending and torsion tests were performed on the specimens. Bending and torsional stiffness of specimens were obtained for the fixation methods. According to the results of the study, the methyl methacrylate group has provided higher stiffness than classical tubular fixator with Schanz screws in three-point bending test (7.79 ± 2.33 N/mm vs 3.78 ± 1.18 N/mm, p = 0.006). The methyl methacrylate group also showed better stiffness in torsion test (0.12 ± 0.042 N m/° vs 0.067 ± 0.013 N m/°, p = 0.02). We determined for the first time in literature that external fixation with methyl methacrylate was significantly superior to the classical tubular external fixator with Schanz screws with regard to stiffness and stability under three-point bending and torsional loads. Moreover, methyl methacrylate is inexpensive and easily applied.
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