Metallurgical Failure Analysis of a Broken Compression Hip Screw Surgical Implant
A compression hip screw is a device designed to hold fractures in the area of the femur in alignment and under compression. A side plate, which is an integral part of the device, is attached by screws to the femur, and it holds the compression screw in position. The device analyzed had broken across the eighth hole (of nine holes) from the end of the plate. The detailed metallurgical failure analysis of the device, including metallography and fractography, is reported here. It was found that the device had adequate metallurgical integrity for the application for which it was intended. It is believed that failure was caused by the lack of a screw in the ninth hole. Evidence is also presented which indicates that the device was bent prior to insertion, and the local plastic deformation may have caused structural changes leading to premature crack initiation.
Charlie R. Brooks, Ashok Choudhury, Metallurgical Failure Analysis of a Broken Compression Hip Screw Surgical Implant, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Medical and Biomedical Devices, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.med.c9001664
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