Background: Acromial Levy III fractures after inverse shoulder arthroplasty occur in up to 7% of patients. To date, it is not clear how these fractures should be treated as clinical outcomes remain unsatisfactory. The aim of this study was to evaluate the biomechanical performance of three different plating methods of type III acromion fractures. Methods: Levy III fractures in synthetic scapulae were fixed with three different methods. Angular stable locking plates were placed on the spina scapula to bridge the fracture either dorsally, caudally, or on both aspects by double plating. In a biomechanical experiment, the pull of the deltoid muscle at 40 degrees abduction of the arm was simulated by cyclic loading with increasing load levels until failure. Failure load, cycles to failure, and fragment motions were evaluated. Results: The results showed that double plating (350 +/- 63 N) withstood the highest loads until failure, followed by dorsal (292 +/- 20 N) and caudal (217 +/- 49 N) plating. Similarly, double plating showed significantly smaller fragment movement than the other two groups. Conclusions: Double plating appeared to provide the largest biomechanical stability in type III acromion fracture under arm abduction. Caudal plating in contract resulted in insufficient fracture stability and early failure and can thus not be recommended from a biomechanical point of view.
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