The effects of metal plates on post-traumatic remodelling and bone mass

H. K. Uhthoff, M. Finnegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The long-term effect of stainless steel and titanium alloy plates on structural remodelling and bone mass of osteotomised canine femora was studied and the effects of early and late removal of plates were compared in 27 adult Beagles. Radiological, histological, histomorphometric and tetracycline fluorescence studies led to three conclusions. First, the continuous (60 weeks) presence of plates, irrespective of their composition, delays remodelling and leads to a reduction of bone mass. This loss is significantly greater under stainless steel plates. Secondly, the removal of plates at eight weeks leads during the 52 ensuing weeks to a marked and widespread structural remodelling and to a return to normal bone mass, irrespective of the type of plate used. However, remodelling is more intense after titanium alloy plates have been used; it is not complete 60 weeks after osteotomy. Thirdly, removal of plates at 40 weeks activates remodelling during the ensuing 20 weeks to a lesser degree and to a more limited extent than early plate removal. The clinical significance of this study is that less rigid but stable internal fixation permits the radiological assessment of healing and thus the determination of the optimal moment for removal of the plates. It also reduces the degree of bone loss should the plate be left in situ for any reason.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series B
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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