A comparative mechanical study of 3 external fixator clamps

Robert S. Gilley, Craig A. Bourgeault, Larry J. Wallace*, Joan E. Bechtold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective - To compare external fixator clamps from Kirschner-Ehmer (K-E), Synthes, and Meynard with respect to 6 mechanical parameters. Study Design - A bench test of mechanical properties. Methods - Specially designed fixtures were used to mechanically test 6 clamps of each type at 2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 Newton-Meters of clamp bolt-tightening torque. Results - Components slipped axially and torsionally in the K-E clamp at higher forces for all parameters except for clamp bolt axis pivot. No bolt axis pivot occurred with the Synthes clamp. Instead, the clamp plastically deformed at the fixator-pin interface. This failure occurred at a higher applied torque than the pivot torque for other clamps. The Meynard clamp withstood significantly greater force than the K-E clamp when torsion was applied to the clamp bolt axis in the clockwise direction. Pivot forces for the K-E clamp were significantly higher than the Meynard clamp in the counterclockwise direction. Conclusions - Overall, the K-E clamp was able to resist higher axial and torsional forces before slipping than the Meynard clamp or the Synthes clamp. The Synthes clamp was best able to resist torsion around the clamp bolt axis. Torsional resistance at the clamp-fixator pin and clamp-connecting bar interface was the weakest parameter of clamp mechanics. Clinical Relevance - The ability to resist motion within a clamp is related to fracture-reduction stability. Knowledge of the mechanical properties of fixator clamps will improve a clinician's ability to apply rigid fixation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2001


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