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DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate

The DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate is intended to repair multiple fractures of the thighbone. Recent studies have shown a high failure rate requiring surgery to repair and replace the devices.

The DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate is a thigh implant designed to repair fractures just above the knee, known as distal femur fractures.

The plate is part of the DePuy Synthes Periarticular Plating System. The device is made up of a plate and screws.

A series of predrilled holes run the length of the plate. Doctors insert locking screws into the holes that align with pieces of broken bone to hold them in place while they heal.

The long, metal plate is made from stainless steel and titanium alloy. It features a curved portion designed to fit around the lower end of the thighbone, where the femur flares out before joining the knee. The rounded “knuckle” at the end of a bone is called a condyle.

VA-LCP stands for “Variable Angle – Locking Compression Plate”

Treating Thigh Fractures with Condylar Plates

The DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate is what’s known as a locking compression plate. Locking compression plates have become an increasingly popular solution to repairing a rare but difficult to treat type of fracture.

Fractures of the thighbone just above the knee account for less than one in every 200 fractures. But because of the shape of the thighbone, repairing the damage can lead to complications.

Most Common Complications Of Thighbone Fracture Treatments

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Conventional plates utilize metal plates and screws to compress and hold broken pieces of bone together. Locking plates use screws that lock in place, making it more difficult for the screws to slip out.

Locking compression plates, such as the DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate, combine principles of both conventional and locking plate designs.

A 2015 examination of medical literature published in Trauma International called locking plates “the greatest revolution in implant technology in recent times.” But the author also warned that “over-reliance” on the devices “has led to inappropriate” use of the plates.

VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate Complications

The most serious complication with the DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate is breakage.

If the plate breaks, the patient will require revision surgery to remove and replace the device. Some people who suffered breakage or other serious complications requiring surgery have filed DePuy Synthes Curved Condylar Plate lawsuits .

A 2006 case review published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery looked at 46 patients implanted with LCP plates similar to the DePuy Synthes devices. Six of those patients suffered plate failure and half of those failures were due to the plate breaking.

“We propose that the LCP condylar plate be used only when conventional fixed-angle implants cannot be placed,” the authors wrote.

Any implant surgery also involves a risk of infection. Doctors will attempt to treat infection with antibiotics if possible. If drugs are ineffective, a patient may require surgery to remove the infection.

Symptoms and complications of Condylar Plate Failures
  • Pain
  • Bone fracture
  • Failure of bone to heal from previous fracture
  • Inability to walk or move leg
Injured after a Depuy Synthes Curved Condylar Plate failure? Get a Free Case Review

Studies, FDA Reports Reveal VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate Failures

Published research and a U.S. Food and Drug Administration database detail cases of DePuy Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plates breaking. These failures can result in severe disability and require surgery to correct.

In January 2018, the FDA’s MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) database showed that the agency had received more than 200 adverse event reports about the 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate since 2011.

A study presented at the March 2017 Orthopaedic Research Society’s annual conference found the honeycomb pattern of between six and 22 holes for locking screws may contribute to breaking.

Researchers “consistently observed” failures between the eighth and ninth holes for the screws in longer versions. DePuy Synthes supported the study.

“The results of this study highlight the unique design characteristics of the variable angle plate and raise further questions with respect to its potential implication in implant failure….”

Research presented at the March 2017 Orthopaedic Research Society annual conference

A January 2016 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma found “early mechanical failure” with variable angle locking plates, such as the VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate, were “higher than traditional locking plates” for certain types of fractures. Researchers cautioned against the use of such plates for fractures along the length of the thighbone.

VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate FDA Approval and Recalls

There are no active recalls of the 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate, but Synthes issued a voluntary recall related to similar devices in 2013.

The company recalled 13 VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plates because a straight version of the plates had been improperly etched with a curved plate part number. The recall ended in August 2015.

Synthes received the FDA’s 510(k) clearance to market the VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate in January 2009.

The clearance allows manufacturers to market a new medical device simply by showing that their product is “substantially similar” to other devices already on the market.

It eliminates the need for more stringent testing to show that a device is safe and effective.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Related Pages
  • DePuy Curved Condylar Plate Overview
Terry Turner
Written By Terry Turner Writer

Terry Turner has been writing articles and producing news broadcasts for more than 25 years. He covers FDA policy, proton pump inhibitors, and medical devices such as hernia mesh, IVC filters, and hip and knee implants. An Emmy-winning journalist, he has reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Some of his qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in Washington Examiner, MedPage Today and The New York Times
  • Appeared as an expert panelist on hernia mesh lawsuits on the BBC
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Aimee V. Hachigian-Gould
Dr. Aimee V. Hachigian-Gould Orthopedic Surgeon

10 Cited Research Articles

  1. FDA. (2017, January 23). MAUDE – Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience. Retrieved from
  2. Grau, L.C., et al. (2017, March). Failure of DePuy Synthes VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate in the Management of OTA/AO 33-A3.3 Fractures – Does Filling Open Screw Holes Make a Difference? Orthopaedic Research Society. Retrieved from
  3. Agrawal, A. (2016, May 4). Distal Femur AO Type A Fractures – Surgical Options, Techniques, Results and Complications. Trauma International. Retrieved from
  4. Tank, J.C., et al. (2016, January). Early Mechanical Failures of the Synthes Variable Locking Distal Femur Plate. Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. Retrieved from
  5. DePuy Synthes. (n.d.). 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar Plate Part of the Variable Angle Periarticular Plating System. Retrieved from
  6. FDA. (2018, January 19). Class 2 Device Recall Synthes 4.5mm LCP Curved Condylar Plate. Retrieved from
  7. FDA. (2018, January 22). 510(k) Premarket Notification; Synthes 4.5mm VA-LCP Curved Condylar System. Retrieved from
  8. Kottmeier, S. (n.d.). Distal Femur (Thighbone) Fractures of the Knee. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved from
  9. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (n.d.). Nonunions. Retrieved from
  10. Vallier, H.A., et al. (2006, April). Failure of LCP Condylar Plate Fixation in the Distal Part of the Femur. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Retrieved from
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