Biomechanical evaluation of fixation techniques for bridging segmental mandibular defects

Jonathan M. Doty, David Pienkowski, Michele Goltz, Richard H. Haug, Joseph Valentino, Oneida A. Arosarena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare biomechanical properties of currently available plating systems used to reconstruct segmental mandibular defects. Design: Controlled in vitro investigation. Setting: Academic medical center laboratory. Interventions: Thirty-two polyurethane mandibles were equally divided among 4 groups: mandibles with a 4-cm lateral segmental defect that was bridged with a (1) 3.0-mm locking-screw reconstruction plate, (2) 2.4-mm low-profile reconstruction plate, or (3) 2.4-mm reconstruction plate and (4) uncut (control) mandibles. All plates were contoured and secured to the synthetic mandibles with 4 bicortical screws on either side of the defect. Three constructs from each group were subjected to contralateral-molar single-load-to-failure testing. Mean yield displacement, yield load, and bending stiffness were quantified and compared among the 4 groups. The single-load-to-failure data were used to establish conditions for fatigue testing; such testing was then performed on the remaining 5 samples in each group. Mean cycles to failure were measured and compared among the 4 groups. Results: Mean yield displacement, yield load, and bending stiffness were comparable among the plated groups. Both the 3.0-mm locking-screw and 2.4-mm low-profile reconstruction plate designs withstood 1580 and 1124 times more cycles to failure, respectively (P=.005), than did the control group. The other reconstruction plate was also superior to the unplated controls, offering an 865-fold improvement. Conclusions: All 3 mandibular fixation device systems tested produce comparable levels of single load to failure biomechanical integrity; however, the higher-profile plating system design offered slightly superior fatigue performance. No differences in performance were observed between the locking and nonlocking designs; neither failed at the screw-substrate interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1392
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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