Influence of rotator cuff preload on fracture configuration in proximal humerus fractures: a proof of concept for fracture simulation

  • Introduction In regard of surgical training, the reproducible simulation of life-like proximal humerus fractures in human cadaveric specimens is desirable. The aim of the present study was to develop a technique that allows simulation of realistic proximal humerus fractures and to analyse the influence of rotator cuff preload on the generated lesions in regards of fracture configuration. Materials and methods Ten cadaveric specimens (6 left, 4 right) were fractured using a custom-made drop-test bench, in two groups. Five specimens were fractured without rotator cuff preload, while the other five were fractured with the tendons of the rotator cuff preloaded with 2 kg each. The humeral shaft and the shortened scapula were potted. The humerus was positioned at 90° of abduction and 10° of internal rotation to simulate a fall on the elevated arm. In two specimens of each group, the emergence of the fractures was documented with high-speed video imaging. Pre-fracture radiographs were taken to evaluate the deltoid-tuberosity index as a measure of bone density. Post-fracture X-rays and CT scans were performed to define the exact fracture configurations. Neer’s classification was used to analyse the fractures. Results In all ten cadaveric specimens life-like proximal humerus fractures were achieved. Two III-part and three IV-part fractures resulted in each group. The preloading of the rotator cuff muscles had no further influence on the fracture configuration. High-speed videos of the fracture simulation revealed identical fracture mechanisms for both groups. We observed a two-step fracture mechanism, with initial impaction of the head segment against the glenoid followed by fracturing of the head and the tuberosities and then with further impaction of the shaft against the acromion, which lead to separation of the tuberosities. Conclusion A high energetic axial impulse can reliably induce realistic proximal humerus fractures in cadaveric specimens. The preload of the rotator cuff muscles had no influence on initial fracture configuration. Therefore, fracture simulation in the proximal humerus is less elaborate. Using the presented technique, pre-fractured specimens are available for real-life surgical education.

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Author:Maximilian Lenz, Stephanie Kahmann, Mehdi Behbahani, Lenhard Pennig, Michael Hackl, Tim Leschinger, Lars Peter Müller, Kilian Wegmann
Parent Title (English):Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2022
Date of the Publication (Server):2022/06/08
Tag:Biomechanical simulation; Fracture configuration; Fracture simulation; Proximal humerus fracture; Rotator cuff
Institutes:FH Aachen / Fachbereich Medizintechnik und Technomathematik
FH Aachen / IfB - Institut für Bioengineering
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung