A retrospective analysis of comminuted intra-articular fractures of the tibial plafond: Open reduction and internal fixation versus external Ilizarov fixation

Stacy Bacon, Wade R. Smith, Steven J. Morgan, Erik Hasenboehler, Giby Philips, Allison Williams, Bruce H. Ziran, Philip F. Stahel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intra-articular fractures of the tibial plafond are complex injuries which continue to challenge orthopaedic surgeons in achieving anatomic reduction, while allowing early weight bearing and return to activity. Although a wide range of treatment options has been described for fixation of pilon fractures, the unique characteristic of each injury makes it difficult to advocate a general method of choice. We have attempted to compare a subset of AO/OTA type C pilon fractures treated either by a staged procedure of external fixation and conversion to open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) versus definitive external Ilizarov fixation. Between 1998 and 2004, 42 patients admitted to our level 1 trauma centre underwent either procedure and were followed prospectively. Twenty-eight patients were treated with ORIF and 14 were treated by Ilizarov ring fixator. The outcome measures included time to union, as well as the rates of union, nonunion, malunion and infection. Although the ORIF group had a longer time to heal, the rates of nonunion, malunion and infection were lower compared to the Ilizarov group. However, these differences between the groups were not statistically significant. Thus, based on these results, no clinical recommendation can be made as to which procedure is better and safer for the patient. Future prospective randomised trials are required to determine with more scientific accuracy the optimal treatment strategy for these challenging injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
JournalInjury
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • External fixation
  • Ilizarov
  • Internal fixation
  • Pilon fracture
  • Tibial plafond fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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