Biomechanical analysis of prophylactic fixation for middle third humeral impending pathologic fractures

Timothy A. Damron, Michael G. Rock, Sambhu N. Choudhury, John J. Grabowski, Kai Nan An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


For determination of the most biomechanically desirable construction for prophylactic fixation of impending central 1/3 humeral fractures, 24 matched pairs of fresh frozen skeletonized human cadaveric humeri were divided randomly into four groups. Group 1 compared intact humeri with matched humeri that had a 50% hemicylindrical cortical central 1/3 defect to show reproducible failure at the defect with significant reduction in strength. Groups 2 through 4 compared prophylactic fixation of the defect combined with cementation and dynamic compression plating, Rush rodding, or locked intramedullary nailing. Each specimen was tested in external rotation torsion to failure by fracture. In Group 1, test specimens with defects failed with significantly lower rotation to failure, peak torque, stiffness, and total energy absorbed to failure. In Groups 2 through 4, intramedullary nailing provided statistically significantly better total energy absorbed to failure and stiffness than did dynamic compression plating. The proximally and distally locked intramedullary nail seems to have biomechanical advantages in the prophylactic stabilization of an impending pathologic fracture of the central 1/3 of the humerus. These biomechanical findings must be considered in light of the clinical context when a means of fixation is selected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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