Distal radius plate of CFR-PEEK has minimal effect compared to titanium plates on bone parameters in high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography: a pilot study

Joost J. A. de Jong*, Arno Lataster, Bert van Rietbergen, Jacobus J. Arts, Piet P. Geusens, Joop P. W. van den Bergh, Paul C. Willems

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Carbon-fiber-reinforced poly-ether-ether-ketone (CFR-PEEK) has superior radiolucency compared to other orthopedic implant materials, e.g. titanium or stainless steel, thus allowing metal-artifact-free postoperative monitoring by computed tomography (CT). Recently, high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT (HRpQCT) proved to be a promising technique to monitor the recovery of volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD), micro-architecture and biomechanical parameters in stable conservatively treated distal radius fractures. When using HRpQCT to monitor unstable distal radius fractures that require volar distal radius plating for fixation, radiolucent CFR-PEEK plates may be a better alternative to currently used titanium plates to allow for reliable assessment. In this pilot study, we assessed the effect of a volar distal radius plate made from CFR-PEEK on bone parameters obtained from HRpQCT in comparison to two titanium plates.

Methods: Plates were instrumented in separate cadaveric human fore-arms (n = 3). After instrumentation and after removal of the plates duplicate HRpQCT scans were made of the region covered by the plate. HRpQCT images were visually checked for artifacts. vBMD, micro-architectural and biomechanical parameters were calculated, and compared between the uninstrumented and instrumented radii.

Results: No visible image artifacts were observed in the CFR-PEEK plate instrumented radius, and errors in bone parameters ranged from -3.2 to 2.6%. In the radii instrumented with the titanium plates, severe image artifacts were observed and errors in bone parameters ranged between -30.2 and 67.0%.

Conclusions: We recommend using CFR-PEEK plates in longitudinal in vivo studies that monitor the healing process of unstable distal radius fractures treated operatively by plating or bone graft ingrowth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2017


  • Injury/fracture healing
  • HRpQCT
  • Implant
  • Distal radius

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