Hybrid external fixation of comminuted tibial plateau fractures.

Yale University School of Medicine, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Orthopedic Associates of New Haven, CT 06510, USA.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Impact Factor: 2.79). 08/1996; DOI: 10.1097/00003086-199607000-00032
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Comminuted tibial plateau fractures present a surgical challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon. Over the years, treatment has ranged from traction to cast immobilization to open reduction and internal fixation. More recently, indirect reduction techniques with external fixation have been used. At the authors' institution, from 1990 to 1992, 18 Schatzker Types V and VI tibial plateau fractures were treated in 18 patients with indirect reduction and application of a Monticelli-Spinelli hybrid external fixation system. Two patients had additional internal fixation and were excluded from this review. All 16 patients were available for followup evaluation. The mean time to union was 4.5 months. There were no nonunions. Three patients developed a varus deformity. Fifteen had radiographic evidence of early degenerative changes at 1 year followup. There were 11 superficial pin tract infections in 4 patients; all resolved with local pin care and a short course of oral antibiotics. There were no deep infections. With the added advantages of minimal to no soft tissue stripping and early knee range of motion, this technique is recommended for treatment of these difficult fractures.

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    ABSTRACT: Dual plate fixation in comminuted bicondylar tibial plateau fractures remains controversial. Open reduction and internal fixation, specifically through compromised soft tissues, has historically been associated with major wound complications. Alternate methods of treatment have been described, each with its own merits and demerits. We performed a retrospective study to evaluate the functional outcome of lateral and medial plate fixation of Schatzker type V and VI fractures through an anterolateral approach, and a medial minimally invasive approach or a posteromedial approach. We treated 46 tibial plateau fractures Schatzker type V and VI with lateral and medial plates through an anterolateral approach and a medial minimal invasive approach over an 8 years period. Six patients were lost to followup. Radiographs in two planes were taken in all cases. Immediate postoperative radiographs were assessed for quality of reduction and fixation. The functional outcome was evaluated according to the Oxford Knee Score criteria on followup. Forty patients (33 men and 7 women) who completed the followup were included in the study. There were 20 Schatzker type V fractures and 20 Schatzker type VI fractures. The mean duration of followup was 4 years (range 1-8 years). All patients had a satisfactory articular reduction defined as ≤2 mm step-off or gap as assessed on followup. All patients had a good coronal and sagittal plane alignment, and articular width as assessed on supine X-rays of the knee in the anteroposterior (AP) and lateral views. The functional outcome, as assessed by the Oxford Knee Score, was excellent in 30 patients and good in 10 patients. All patients returned to their pre-injury level of activity and employment. There were no instances of deep infection. Dual plate fixation of severe bicondylar tibial plateau fractures is an excellent treatment option as it provides rigid fixation and allows early knee mobilization. Careful soft tissue handling and employing minimal invasive techniques minimizes soft tissue complications.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: To present the medium-term results of intra-articular, bicondylar AO/OTA classification type C fractures of the tibial plateau in a retrospective study at a level-1 trauma center in 22 patients with 23 fractures. METHODS: Demographic data for the patients and details of current clinical and radiological follow-up findings were obtained to assess range of motion, clinical stability and alignment of the knee, and posttraumatic arthrosis (Kellgren/Lawrence score). Functional outcomes were assessed using the Lysholm score, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), and International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) form. RESULTS: Patients' mean age was 46 years (range 20-67 years). Leading causes of the fractures were high-energy traffic accidents and falls. There were seven C1, seven C2, and nine C3 fractures. ORIF was performed in 20 patients; in two patients an external fixator and in one patient cannulated screws alone were used. In 13/22 patients, an angle-stable locking plate (Less Invasive Stabilization System, LISS©) was used for osteosynthesis. The mean follow-up period was 67 months (range 36-109 months). The overall complication rate was 39.1 %, including four infections and four cases of pseudarthrosis (17.4 %). The average flexion of the injured knee was significantly lower in comparison with the contralateral side (124.9° vs. 135.2°). Knee stability did not differ statistically significantly. Current radiographs revealed no signs of posttraumatic arthrosis in 30.4 % of cases, mild signs in 34.8 %, clear signs in 26.1 %, and severe signs in 13 % using the Kellgren and Lawrence scale. The average Lysholm score was 66.2 points, and the average KOOS score was 67.84. One patient was in category A, and 2 were in category B in the IKDC overall categories, whereas 5 patients were in category C and 14 were even in category D. CONCLUSIONS: Complex articular tibial plateau fractures are associated with a high rate of complications, continue to have a severe impact on function in the injured knee, lead to early post-traumatic arthrosis, and result in long-lasting subjective symptoms for the patients.
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    ABSTRACT: Evolution of periarticular implant technology has led to stiffer, more stable fixation constructs. However, as plate options increase, comparisons between different sized constructs have not been performed. The purpose of this study is to biomechanically assess any significant differences between 3.5- and 4.5-mm locked tibial plateau plates in a simple bicondylar fracture model. A total of 24 synthetic composite bone models (12 Schatzker V and 12 Schatzker VI) specimens were tested. In each group, six specimens were fixed with a 3.5-mm locked proximal tibia plate and six specimens were fixed with a 4.5-mm locking plate. Testing measures included axial ramp loading to 500 N, cyclic loading to 10,000 cycles and axial load to failure. In the Schatzker V comparison model, there were no significant differences in inferior displacement or plastic deformation after 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 cycles. In regards to axial load, the 4.5-mm plate exhibited a significantly higher load to failure (P = 0.05). In the Schatzker VI comparison model, there were significant differences in inferior displacement or elastic deformation after 10, 100, 1,000, and 10,000 cycles. In regards to axial load, the 4.5-mm plate again exhibited a higher load to failure, but this was not statistically significant (P = 0.21). In the advent of technological advancement, periarticular locking plate technology has offered an invaluable option in treating bicondylar tibial plateau fractures. Comparing the biomechanical properties of 3.5- and 4.5-mm locking plates yielded no significant differences in cyclic loading, even in regards to elastic and plastic deformation. Not surprisingly, the 4.5-mm plate was more robust in axial load to failure, but only in the Schatzker V model. In our testing construct, overall, without significant differences, the smaller, lower-profile 3.5-mm plate seems to be a biomechanically sound option in the reconstruction of bicondylar plateau fractures.
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