Fatigue Crack on a Type 316 Stainless Steel Bone Plate and Corresponding Broken Screw
A narrow bone plate made of type 316 stainless steel and used to stabilize an open midshaft femur fracture failed. A crack at a plate hole next to the fracture site had been revealed by a radiograph taken 13 weeks after the operation. The plate was revealed to be slightly bent in the horizontal plane, and the fracture gap was considerably open. The screws and plates supplied by different manufacturers were revealed to be different with respect to microcleanliness (primary inclusion content) of the materials and only one of them was found to be according to specifications. The local crack formation was influenced by the presence of larger inclusions. The screw failed was revealed to have failed through a fatigue mechanism by the presence of striations in the scanning electron micrograph. The crack in the plate was revealed to have originated at the upper, outer corner of the plate by the beach marks which indicated the action of asymmetric bending and rotational forces.