Surgical treatment of fragility sacrum fractures with percutaneous sacroiliac (SI) screw fixation is associated with high failure rates in terms of screw loosening, cut-through and turn-out. The latter is a common cause for complications, being detected in up to 20% of the patients. The aim of this study was to develop a new screw-in-screw concept and prototype implant for fragility sacrum fracture fixation and test it biomechanically versus transsacral and SI screw fixations.
Twenty-seven artificial pelves with discontinued symphysis and a vertical osteotomy in zone 1 after Denis were assigned to three groups (n = 9) for implantation of their right sites with either an SI screw, the new screw-in-screw implant, or a transsacral screw. All specimens were biomechanically tested to failure in upright position with the right ilium constrained. Validated setup and test protocol were used for complex axial and torsional loading, applied through the S1 vertebral body. Interfragmentary movements were captured via optical motion tracking. Screw motions in the bone were evaluated by means of triggered anteroposterior X-rays.
Interfragmentary movements and implant motions in terms of pull-out, cut-through, tilt, and turn-out were significantly higher for SI screw fixation compared to both transsacral screw and screw-in-screw fixations. In addition, transsacral screw and screw-in-screw fixations revealed similar construct stability. Moreover, screw-in-screw fixation successfully prevented turn-out of the implant, that remained at 0° rotation around the nominal screw axis unexceptionally during testing.
From biomechanical perspective, fragility sacrum fracture fixation with the new screw-in-screw implant prototype provides higher stability than with the use of one SI screw, being able to successfully prevent turn-out. Moreover, it combines the higher stability of transsacral screw fixation with the less risky operational procedure of SI screw fixation and can be considered as their alternative treatment option.