Surgical technique: articulated external fixator for treatment of complex knee dislocation.

3rd Orthopaedics and Traumatologic Clinic, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via Pupilli 1, 40136 Bologna, Italy.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Impact Factor: 2.88). 03/2012; 470(3):869-76. DOI: 10.1007/s11999-011-2062-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Knee dislocation is a severe but relatively uncommon injury caused by violent trauma that can result in long-term complications, such as arthrofibrosis, stiffness, instability, and pain. Perhaps owing in part to its rarity, treatment of this injury is controversial. We therefore describe a treatment approach for these complex cases involving a novel dynamic knee external fixator.
We performed open PCL reconstruction when possible and/or repair of other associated lesions. At the end of the surgical procedure, the surgeon applied an external fixator that reproduced normal knee kinematics, allowing early motion exercises and reducing the risk of joint stiffness while protecting the bony and soft tissue structures involved in the repair during the first healing phase.
We retrospectively reviewed eight patients treated with this approach, four of whom had the PCL reconstructed and four of whom had only associated injuries reconstructed. We evaluated all patients with clinical scores (subjective International Knee Documentation Committee form, Lysholm score, and Tegner level), physical examination (objective International Knee Documentation Committee form), and KT-1000™ arthrometer for AP laxity. Minimum followup was 10 months (mean, 26 months; range, 10-45 months).
One patient had manipulation under anesthesia. The median Lysholm score was 76, Tegner level was 4, and subjective International Knee Documentation Committee was 73. All patients recovered to their preinjury work activity, except one unemployed patient. Stability was normal or nearly normal in five patients; the mean side-to-side difference in AP displacement with manual maximum force was 2.9 mm.
This approach with an external fixator allowed staged reconstruction and early motion and provided reasonable stability, ROM, and activity level at followup in patients with complex injuries.
Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


Available from: Stefano Zaffagnini, Dec 24, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Knee dislocations are defined as ligament injuries involving at least two of the four most important knee ligaments. Results from recent studies have shown a tendency towards improvement of the functional outcomes with use of an articulated external fixator during the postoperative period following multiligament reconstruction. Our hypothesis was that good knee stability and early gain of range of motion could be achieved with the use of the external fixator after ligament reconstructions. Fourteen patients with knee dislocations were evaluated after multiligament reconstruction in association with use of a lateral monoplanar external fixator for six weeks. Reconstructions were performed using grafts from a tissue bank. Range of motion was measured after one, two, three, six, twelve months and at the final evaluation at a mean time of 49 months. The assessments were made using objective and subjective IKDC, Lysholm and Tegner scales. The mean scores were 71.7 for the subjective IKDC score, 81.5 for the Lysholm score. No patient was able to return to previous Tegner score. Out of the 45 ligament reconstructions performed, only four failed during the follow-up time. The mean range of motion of the knee presented a progressive increase from the first to the twelfth month, from 67.8° to 115.7°. Two cases of superficial infection on the site of the external fixator pins were observed. The use of an external fixator enabled early rehabilitation with range of motion gains starting from the first postoperative month, a low rate of reconstruction failure and minimal complications. Nevertheless, none of the patients returned to the level of activity prevailing prior to the injury. Level IV, retrospective therapeutic case series. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
    Orthopaedics & Traumatology Surgery & Research 12/2014; 101(1). DOI:10.1016/j.otsr.2014.11.001 · 1.17 Impact Factor