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Objective— Evaluate the mechanical properties of twist, loop, double loop, double-wrap and loop/twist cerclage.

Methods— The initial tension generated by 18 cerclage of each type was determined using a materials testing machine after tying around a testing jig. Six wires from each type were distracted and the initial stiffness and yield load were determined. Yield behavior was further investigated in six wires of each type by determining the load required to reduce cerclage tension below 30 Newton (N) following an incremental (50 N) stepwise load and unload regimen. The amount of collapse of the simulated bone fragments that resulted in the reduction of initial tension to 30 N was measured for the final six wires of each group. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance and a multiple comparison test.

Results— Twist type cerclage generated less tension than loop-type cerclage. The yield load of these two types was similar. Double-loop and double-wrap cerclage generated superior tension and resisted a greater load before loosening. Loop/twist cerclage had an intermediate initial tension but had the greatest resistance to loading. In the collapse test, the greater the initial tension, the more collapse could occur before the wire was loose. For all types of cerclage wire fixation, a reduction of diameter of the testing jig of more than 1% caused loosening.

Clinical Relevance— Double-loop and double-wrap cerclage provide greater compression of fragments and resist loads associated with weight-bearing better than the twist and loop methods. Loop/twist cerclage may have advantages because of their superior resistance to loading. All cerclage will loosen if fracture fragments collapse.