Pitfalls of Locking Plate Applications

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Pitfalls of Locking Plate Applications


Matthew D. Barnhart


Locking plates (LP) gradually crept into use in veterinary surgery with little discussion as to the differences between them and the well‐established conventional dynamic compression plating (DCP) techniques. The first published clinical application of a LP in a canine fracture case was in 2005 [1]. While thorough reviews on LP theory and its applications existed in the human medical literature, access to these publications required diligent investigation by the interested veterinary surgeon. As such, many of us simply switched an LP for a DCP system in a given trauma application without developing a better understanding of the fundamental differences between the two. This author’s own initial misconception, and that most commonly encountered amongst colleagues, was that LP constructs were “stronger” than DCP constructs. We were a bit surprised to learn that LP technology was actually not designed to be stronger or more stable than DCP. Rather, it was created to enhance the principles of biological osteosynthesis in order to promote healing and minimize infection risks that were attributed in part to the periosteal vascular injury caused by the large frictional force generated between DCPs and the bone surface.


Unfortunately, we often learn more from our mistakes than our successes, so this chapter’s purpose is to report some of the early pitfalls encountered when using LP systems. It will become clear how basic knowledge and adherence to principles learned later in this book could help minimize or outright avoid complications. Clearly, it is an oversimplification to blame a failure on lack of adherence to a single application principle; however, in some of these cases it is possible that problems could have been avoided had they been followed.

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Jun 13, 2021 | Posted by in SUGERY, ORTHOPEDICS & ANESTHESIA | Comments Off on Pitfalls of Locking Plate Applications

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