The purpose of this retrospective review was to evaluate the long-term results of surgical treatment of isolated, displaced talar neck and/or body fractures with stable internal fixation.
The study included twenty-five patients with a total of twenty-six displaced fractures isolated to the talus that had been treated with open reduction and stable internal fixation and followed for a minimum of forty-eight months after the injury. The final follow-up examination included standard radiographs, computed tomography, and a clinical evaluation. Variables that were analyzed included wound type, fracture type, Hawkins type, comminution, timing of the surgical intervention, surgical approach, quality of fracture reduction, Hawkins sign, osteonecrosis, union, time to union, posttraumatic arthritis, and the AOFAS scores including subscores (pain, function, and alignment).
The average duration of follow-up was seventy-four months. Surgical intervention resulted in sixteen fractures with an anatomic reduction, five with a nearly anatomic reduction, and five with a poor reduction. All eight noncomminuted fractures were anatomically reduced. The overall union rate was 88%. All closed, displaced talar neck fractures healed, regardless of the time delay until surgical intervention. Posttraumatic arthritis of the subtalar joint was the most common finding and was seen in all patients, sixteen of whom had involvement of more than one joint. Osteonecrosis was a common finding, seen after thirteen of the twenty-six fractures overall and after six of the seven open fractures.
Open reduction and internal fixation is recommended for the treatment of displaced talar neck and/or body fractures. A delay in surgical fixation does not appear to affect the outcome, union, or prevalence of osteonecrosis. Posttraumatic arthritis is a more common complication than osteonecrosis following operative treatment. Patients with a displaced fracture of the talus should be counseled that posttraumatic arthritis and chronic pain are expected outcomes even after anatomic reduction and stable fixation. This is especially true following open fractures.