Design of a new magnesium-based anterior cruciate ligament interference screw using finite element analysis

Jonquil R. Mau, Kevin M. Hawkins, Savio L.-Y. Woo, Kwang E. Kim, Matthew B.A. McCullough
2019 Journal of Orthopaedic Translation  
In anterior cruciate ligament ​reconstruction, a tendon graft, anchored by interference screws (IFSs), is frequently used as a replacement for the damaged ligament. Generally, IFSs are classified as being either metallic or polymeric. Metallic screws have sharp threads that lacerate the graft, preventing solid fixation. These constructs are difficult to image ​and can limit bone--screw integration because of the higher stiffness of the screw. Polymeric materials are often a better match to
more » ... s material properties, but lack the strength needed to hold grafts in place. Magnesium (Mg) is a material of great promise for orthopaedic applications. Mg has mechanical properties similar to bone, ability to be seen on magnetic resonance imagings, and promotes bone healing. However, questions still remain regarding the strength of Mg-based screws. Previous ex vivo ​animal experiments found stripping of the screw drive when the full torque was applied to Mg screws during surgery, preventing full insertion and poor graft fixation. The similar design of the Mg screw led to questions regarding the relationship between material properties and design, and the ultimate impact on mechanical behaviour. Thus, the objective of this study was to analyze the stresses in the screw head, a key factor in the stripping mechanism of IFS, then use that information to improve screw design, for this material. Using finite element analysis, a comparison study of six drive designs (hexagonal, quadrangle, torx, trigonal, trilobe, and turbine) was performed. This was followed by a parametric analysis to determine appropriate drive depth and drive width. It was observed that with a typical torque (2 ​Nm) used for screw insertion during anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, the maximum von Mises and shear stress values were concentrated in the corners or turns of the drive, which could lead to stripping if the values were greater than the yield stress of Mg (193 ​MPa). With a four-time ​increase in drive depth to be fully driven and a 30% greater drive width, these maximum stress values were significantly decreased by more than 75%. It was concluded that improving the design of a Mg-based screw may increase surgical success rates, by decreasing device failure at insertion. The results of this work have the potential to improve designs of degradable IFSs, allowing for greater torque to be applied and thus greater screw fixation between host bone and the graft. Such a fixation will allow greater integration, better patient healing, and ultimately improved patient outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.jot.2019.09.003 pmid:31908930 pmcid:PMC6939101 fatcat:ghryrqssyvgqfa62m6ez3sqq2q