Objective— To compare the biomechanical properties of cortical bone and surgical steel endoprosthesis for limb-sparing surgery of the distal radius in dogs and evaluate the role of the ulna in providing stability to the reconstructed limb.
Study Design— Cadaveric biomechanical study.
Animals— Twelve pairs of normal canine thoracic limbs.
Methods— Paired limbs were divided into 4 groups: endoprosthesis and cortical bone graft, with and without preservation of the ulna. In each limb pair, the distal segment of the radius resected from the limb to be reconstructed with an endoprosthesis was used as the cortical bone graft in the contralateral limb. The ulna was resected en bloc with the radius and at the same level as the radial osteotomy in limbs where the ulna was not preserved. Limbs were tested in axial loading until failure. The load–deformation curve was used to acquire the biomechanical properties of each construct, which were compared using 2-way ANOVA. Failure modes were compared descriptively.
Results— Limbs reconstructed with the endoprosthesis had significantly greater yield load, energy at yield, and ultimate load compared with limbs reconstructed with a cortical bone graft. There were no significant differences in either energy to failure or stiffness between the 2 constructs. Preservation of the ulna did not significantly improve any of the biomechanical properties tested with either endoprosthesis or cortical bone graft constructs. The modes of failure in all 4 groups were variable and inconsistent.
Conclusions— Limbs reconstructed with an endoprosthesis were biomechanically superior to limbs reconstructed with a cortical bone graft in axial loading to failure. Preservation of the ulna is not required to improve the stability in axial compression after limb-sparing surgery of the distal radius.
Clinical Relevance— The endoprosthesis may provide another option for limb-sparing surgery of the distal radius in dogs. It has potential advantages when compared with cortical bone grafts, including better biomechanical performance and resistance to implant failure in axial compression, immediate availability, and no requirement for bone banking facilities. The ulna can be resected en bloc with the radius without having a negative impact on construct stability. En bloc resection of the ulna and radius may decrease the risk of local tumor recurrence after limb-sparing surgery.