OBJECTIVE: To measure the tensile force required for failure of the quadriceps mechanism with different tibial tuberosity widths and different degrees of rotation of the tibial plateau after radial osteotomy of the proximal tibia.
STUDY DESIGN: Ex vivo study, randomized unblocked design
ANIMALS: Thirty-five hind limbs from 18 adult Greyhound cadavers.
METHODS: Part 1 (15 limbs)--The center of rotation of the proximal tibial radial osteotomy was advanced craniodistally, progressively reducing absolute tibial tuberosity width (ATTW) for 5 different widths. Part 2 (21 limbs)-Tibial plateau rotation was performed at a set ATTW. Rotation was varied as a function of tibial tuberosity position with rotation proximal, level with, or distal to the tuberosity. All 35 limbs were tested with force applied via the quadriceps mechanism until construct failure occurred.
RESULTS: All but 2 limbs failed by fracture of the tibial tuberosity. The tensile force required for failure of the quadriceps mechanism increased linearly with increasing ATTW. Significantly less force (P = .016) was required for failure of the quadriceps mechanism when the rotation of the tibial plateau was distal to the level of the patella tendon (mean 1,877 N) compared to when it was above the level of the patella tendon (mean 2,533 N). Rotation of the tibial plateau distal to the level of the patella tendon insertion point resulted in fracture at the base of the tibial tuberosity, level with the tibial plateau buttress.
CONCLUSION: The overwhelming mode of failure of the quadriceps mechanism was by tibial tuberosity fracture, thus this was the weakest part of the construct. Reducing the tibial tuberosity width and rotation of the tibial plateau segment below the patella tendon insertion decreased the force required for tibial tuberosity fracture. These results support the idea of a safe point with the tibial plateau segment providing buttress to the tibial tuberosity.
- Knee Joint
- Quadriceps Muscle
- Tensile Strength
- Tibial Fractures