Cancellous Bone Screw Thread Design and Holding Power
This study was designed to isolate and evaluate the parameters of host density, outer diameter (OD), root diameter (RD), and pitch in cancellous bone screw design and their effect on holding power. Special emphasis was placed on screw pitch, which has been evaluated infrequently in the literature. Three groups of stainless steel V thread screws (group I, OD 4.5 mm, RD 3.0 mm; group II, OD 6.4 mm, RD 3.5 mm; group III, OD 6.4 mm, RD 4.2 mm) were machined with progressive increases in pitch from 12 to 32 threads per inch (TPI). Two densities of synthetic cancellous bone material (Pedilen, Ottobock, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.), 0.15 g/ml and 0.22 g/ml, were then prepared and molded into sheets 1.9 cm thick and the screw threads completely engaged. Push-out tests were performed using a servohydraulic testing machine (MTS, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.). Fifteen trials of each screw were tested in each material. The effect on holding power of the different parameters of the custom screws in order of importance was (a) host material density, (b) OD (c) pitch, and (d) RD. The groups with a 6.4-mm OD had a much greater holding power than did the group with a 4.5-mm OD (p < 0.001). A decrease in screw pitch (increased threads per inch) did itself have a significant improved effect on fixation for all groups in both pedilen densities (p < 0.001). In the two 6.4-mm screw groups studied, the difference in the two root diameters (4.2 mm vs. 3.5 mm) showed the smaller root diameter to give a greater holding power in the less dense 0.15 g/ml pedilen (p < 0.001). In the more dense 0.22 g/ml pedilen there was no difference (p = 0.26) between the root diameters. To optimize holding power, cancellous screws may be designed with a decreased pitch (increased TPI) over those commercially available today. Cannulated screws must have a larger cancellous thread root diameter to leave room for the central cannulation; this may decrease their holding power in less dense cancellous bone but not in denser bone.