Torsional Failure of Carbon Fiber Composite Plates Versus Stainless Steel Plates for Comminuted Distal Fibula Fractures

William K. Wilson, Randal P. Morris, Adam J. Ward, Nikoletta L. Carayannopoulos, Vinod Panchbhavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Background: Carbon fiber composite implants are gaining popularity in orthopedics, but with few independent studies of their failure characteristics under supra-physiologic loads. The objective of this cadaveric study was to compare torsional failure properties of bridge plating a comminuted distal fibula fracture with carbon fiber polyetheretherketone (PEEK) composite and stainless steel one-third tubular plates. Methods: Comminuted fractures were simulated in 12 matched pairs of fresh-frozen human fibulas with 2-mm osteotomies located 3 cm proximal to the tibiotalar joint. Each fibula pair was randomized for fixation and implanted with carbon fiber and stainless steel 5-hole one-third tubular plates. The constructs were loaded in external rotation at a rate of 1-degree/sec until failure with a materials testing system. Torsional stiffness and mode of failure, as well as displacement, torque, and energy absorption for the first instance of failure and peak failure, were determined. Statistical analysis was performed with paired t tests and chi-square. Results: There were no significant differences among the 12 pairs for torsional stiffness, first failure torque, peak failure displacement, peak failure torque, or peak failure energy. Stainless steel plates exhibited significantly higher displacement (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-553
Number of pages6
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • biomechanics
  • carbon fiber
  • fibula fracture
  • one-third tubular plates
  • stainless steel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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