Fractures of the olecranon represent about 10% of the upper extremity lesions. Surgical fixation of this fracture through tension band wiring involves inserting two 316L pins and a tension band wire in a figure eight configuration. After the fracture is healed, the hardware is typically removed. The feasibility of using biodegradable AZ31 magnesium alloy for this application is examined. A 3D computer model of the elbow was developed from CT scans and evaluated using finite element analysis (FEA). The fracture displacements of ulnas fixed with AZ31 were compared with 316L hardware. Physical tests of the elbow were used to verify the results from the FEA model. The data suggest that AZ31 has the potential to be a viable material for use in the fixation of olecranon fractures.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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