Locking Plate Principles

Chapter 61


Locking Plate Principles


Locking Versus Nonlocking Plates: Advantages to a Locking Plate/Screw System


There are several advantages to a locking plate/screw system:


Locking plate and screw systems have advantages over the conventional screw systems. Conventional plate/screw systems require precise adaptation of the plate to the underlying bone. Without this intimate contact, tightening of the screws will draw the bone segments toward the plate, resulting in alterations in the position of the osseous segments and the occlusal relationship. Locking plate/screw systems offer certain advantages over other plates in this regard. The most significant advantage may be that it becomes unnecessary for the plate to intimately contact the underlying bone in all areas. As the screws are tightened, they “lock” to the plate, thus stabilizing the segments without the need to compress the bone to the plate. This makes it impossible for the screw insertion to alter the reduction.


Another potential advantage in locking plate/screw systems is that they do not disrupt the underlying cortical bone perfusion as much as conventional plates, which compress the undersurface of the plate to the cortical bone.


A third advantage to the use of locking plate/screw systems is that the screws are unlikely to loosen from the plate. This means that even if a screw is inserted into a fracture gap, loosening of the screw will not occur. Similarly, if a bone graft is screwed to the plate, a locking screw will not loosen during the phase of graft incorporation and healing. The possible advantage to this property of a locking plate/screw system is a decreased incidence of inflammatory complications from loosening of the hardware. It is known that loose hardware propagates an inflammatory response and promotes infection. For the hardware of a locking plate/screw system to loosen, loosening of a screw from the plate or loosening of all of the screws from their bony insertions would have to occur.


Locking plate/screw systems have been shown to provide more stable fixation than conventional nonlocking plate/screw systems.


Plate Design


Locking plates 2.0 are available in four thicknesses, with or without center space (Fig. 61.1):


1. Small profile


2. Medium profile


3. Large profile


4. Extra-large profile



Text and images in this chapter appear from AO Surgery Reference (www.aosurgery.org) and are copyright AO Foundation, Switzerland.


May 9, 2019 | Posted by in Reconstructive surgery | Comments Off on Locking Plate Principles
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