Biomechanical testing of osteosynthetic locking plates for proximal humeral shaft fractures - A systematic literature review

Christian Halbauer*, Felix Capanni, Isabel Bertusch, Andreas Paech, Tobias Merkle, Tomas Da Silva

*Corresponding author for this work


Proximal humeral shaft fractures can be treated with helically deformed bone plates to reduce the risk of iatrogenic nerve lesion. Controversially to this common surgical technique that was first established in 1999, no biomechanical investigation on humeral helical plating is recorded by other reviews, which focus on proximal fractures exclusively. Does an additional scope for shaft fractures reveal findings of helical testing? The present systematic literature review was performed based on guidelines by Kitchenham et al. to systematically search and synthesize literature regarding biomechanical testing of osteosynthetic systems for proximal humeral shaft fractures. Therefore, a systematic approach to search and screen literature was defined beforehand and applied on the findings of the database PubMed®. Synthesized information of the included literature was categorized, summarized and analyzed via descriptive statistics. Out of 192 findings, 22 publications were included for qualitative synthesis. A wide range of different test methods was identified, leading to a suboptimal comparability of specific results between studies. Overall, 54 biomechanical test scenarios were identified and compared. Physiological based boundary conditions (PB-BC) were referenced in 7 publications only. One study of testing straight and helical dynamic compression plates without PB-BCs was identified, showing significant differences under compressional loading. The absence of test standards of specific fields like humeral fractures lead to a high variance in biomechanical testing of osteosynthetic locking plates for proximal humeral shaft fractures. Physiological approaches offer realistic test scenarios but need to be uniformed for enhanced comparability between studies. The impact of helically deformed locking plates under PB-BC was not identified in literature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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