Composite and Metal Bone Plate - Screw Fixation: A Numerical Comparison

Although they cause some problems, metallic bone plates have been used widely in the healing of especially long bone fractures. As composites are less rigid, and their mechanical properties may be closer to that of bone, it seems possible to avoid these problems with their usage as alternative implant materials. The aim of this study was to compare theoretically the metallic and composite bone plates used in the healing of tibial fractures according to their effects on the bone and the fracture site, and their behaviours under the condition of compression, which is caused while the patient stands up. Also, the screws used for the fixation of the bone/plate system are compared for metallic and composite plate cases. A 3D finite element model was developed to analyse the problem. Results of the analyses were evaluated using the theory of strain energy density, and the calculated stress values. The results obtained for the fracture site showed that in the case of composite plates, an increase in bone density is obvious, ie. bone remodelling can be faster. Additionally, screws used in metallic plate cases were found to be more critical in failure.

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