Classification of calcaneal fractures by spiral computed tomography: implications for surgical treatment

Ulrich Linsenmaier, Ulrich Brunner, Alexander Schöning, Johannes Rieger, Michael Krötz, Wolf Mutschler, Klaus Jürgen Pfeifer, Maximilian Reiser
European Radiology 2003, 13 (10): 2315-22
The purpose of this study was to evaluate spiral computed tomography and multislice CT (SCT/MSCT) with multiplanar reconstructions (MPR) in the classification of calcaneal fractures according to a modified CT classification and to quantify fragment displacement to guide surgical treatment. Forty-eight calcaneal fractures were examined by spiral CT (1- to 2-mm slice thickness, pitch=1.5) with multiplanar reconstructions (MPR). Fractures were grouped according to a modified Munich classification scheme, differentiating six categories of fractures by joint involvement, number of fragments in the posterior facet, and the presence and extent of displacement. A qualitative and quantitative statement was made for the presence of clinical relevant displacement of the posterior articular facet (A: >2 mm), widening of the heel (B: crossing fibular reference line), reduction in calcaneal height (C: >10%), and axis shift of the calcaneocuboid angle (D: >10 degrees ). Treatment recommendations resulting from the CT classification were retrospectively compared with the treatment given by examining the patients' files. There were 10 extra-articular and 38 intra-articular fractures; 8 were in class I (extra-articular, nondisplaced), 2 in class II (extra-articular, displaced), 1 in class III (intra-articular, nondisplaced), 20 in class IV (two fragments), 9 in class V (three fragments), and 8 in class VI (>4 fragments), one of the latter being uncertain; 34 showed displacement of the articular facet, 35 widening of the heel, 35 reduction in calcaneal height, and 20 a shift of the axis. In 94% of the cases the procedure recommended by the Munich system of classification was followed; there was disagreement in 1 case in class I and 1 in class IV. Spiral CT allowed fracture classification and quantification of relevant displacement of fragments by radiologists. The implemented recommendations for treatment were adopted by surgeons in most cases.

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