Novel Adhesives for Sternal Fixation and Stabilization: A Biomechanical Analysis


Background: Cerclage wires remain the current standard of care following median sternotomy, despite significant complications including dehiscence and infection. This study uses a human cadaveric model to investigate the use of glass polyalkenoate cements formulated from two glasses, A (mole fraction: SiO 2 :0.48, ZnO:0.36, CaO:0.12, SrO:0.04) and B (mole fraction: SiO 2 :0.48, ZnO:0.355, CaO:0.06, SrO:0.08, P 2 O 5 :0.02, Ta 2 O 5 :0.005), to improve wired sternal fixation. Methods: Median sternotomies were performed on fifteen cadaveric sterna. Fixation was performed with either traditional wire cerclage or adhesive-enhanced wire cerclage; the adhesive based on either Glass A or Glass B. Cyclic tensile loading of 10 N to 100 N was applied. Every 30 cycles, the maximum load was increased by 100 N up to a maximum of 500 N. Two adhered sterna were tested beyond 500 N. Mid-sternal displacement was measured to assess fixation stability. Findings: Displacement for adhesive-enhanced sternal closures were significantly less (p < 0.05) than standard wire cerclage. There was no significant difference between adhesives. Up to 500 N, no adhesive-enhanced sternum experienced a pathological sternal displacement (>2 mm), while three out of five of traditional wire fixations did. Of the two adhered samples tested beyond 500 N, one showed pathological displacement at 800 N and the other at 1100 N. Failure of adhered sterna appeared to initiate within the trabecular bone rather than in the adhesive. Interpretation: The adhesives were capable of providing immediate bone stability, significantly reducing sternal displacement. In vivo investigations are warranted to determine the effect the adhesives have on bone remodelling.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Grant None

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1879-1271; 0268-0033

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2023 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2019

PubMed ID