Biomechanical Testing of Additive Manufactured Proximal Humerus Fracture Fixation Plates

Maryam Tilton, April Armstrong, Jennifer Sanville, Matthew Chin, Michael W. Hast, Gregory S. Lewis, Guha P. Manogharan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Achieving satisfactory fracture fixation in osteoporotic patients with unstable proximal humerus fractures remains a major clinical challenge. Varus collapse is one of the more prominent complications that may lead to screw cutout. This aim of this study was to compare the fixation provided by conventional locking plates with novel design concepts that are only feasible through additive manufacturing (AM) techniques. In addition to reversed engineered implants, two novel implant designs with integrated struts were included in the study to provide medial support to humeral head. The medial strut was either solid or included a porous lattice structure intended to promote bone ingrowth. Biomechanical tests were performed using low density synthetic bones with simulated 3-part comminuted fractures. Nondestructive torsion and compression were performed, followed by increasing cyclic loading. The relative displacements between the bone fragments were determined using a 3D motion capture system. The AM manufactured implants with medial strut showed significant reduction of varus displacement during the increasing cyclic loading when compared to conventional designs. AM reversed-engineered locking plates showed similar mechanical behavior to conventional plates with identical geometry. This study demonstrates the feasibility and potential of employing alternative design via AM for fixation of unstable comminuted proximal humerus fractures to reduce fragment displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-476
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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