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Locking Plate Technology

Fracture Repair Has Taken A Major Step Forward

Fracture repair has taken a major step forward with the Geriatric Fracture Center's adoption of locking compression plates as the standard treatment for broken bones.

Poor bone quality, common in older adults, increases the technical difficulty and complications of operative treatment of fractures.  The goal of surgery is to optimize bone and/or joint alignment, preserve blood supply to aid healing and provide stability to allow early mobilization.

Plates are applied to reduce the gap between bone at the fracture site and provide rigid fixation. Locking plates are especially helpful for patients with osteoporosis and fractures with multiple segments. Here's why.

With Conventional Plates

  • Screws can move independently from the plate. They may loosen over time as force is applied. If there is premature screw loosening, fracture instability, loss of fracture gap reduction and nonunion of the bone may result.
  • Plate-to-bone compression and friction from movement between the plate, screws and bone may negatively impact the blood supply to the bone.
  • Osteoporotic bone may not be able to withstand the high screw torque required for stability.

With Locking Plates

  • Screws become "one" with the plate reducing the possibility of hardware failure. Stability and "pullout" strength are determined by the sum of all locked screws instead of a single screw. When screws are locked into fixed-angles the broken bones stay closer together on both ends of the break, increasing the likelihood of proper healing.
  • Locking plates eliminate motion between the plate, screws and bone. Direct plate-to- bone compression is not required, better preserving the blood supply to the bone.
  • The plate-screw assembly distributes stress along the entire length of the plate, making locking plates better suited for osteoporotic bone and multi-segment fractures.