[Calcaneus fractures. Open reduction and internal fixation]

S Rammelt, S Barthel, A Biewener, J M Gavlik, H Zwipp
Zentralblatt Für Chirurgie 2003, 128 (6): 517-28

AIM OF THIS STUDY: Critical analysis of the medium-term results of open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of displaced intra-articular calcaneus fractures with a standardized protocol in a greater patient cohort.

METHODS: From October 1993 to December 1999 314 patients (mean age 42.3 years) with 348 calcaneus fractures were seen at the Dresden University Hospital. 41 fractures were open, 4 with 1st degree, 28 with 2nd and 9 with 3rd degree soft tissue damage. 275 displaced intra-articular fractures were treated with ORIF, 262 (95.3 %) with plate osteosynthesis via an extended lateral approach. 169 patients could be evaluated at a mean of 18 months (range 10-47 months) postoperatively with an extended protocol of questionnaire, physical and radiographic examination.

RESULTS: The Maryland Foot Score after 18 months follow-up averaged 80.8/100, the mean Zwipp score averaged 146.4/200. The functional result with the Merle d'Aubigné score was judged good to excellent in 86% of cases. Rates of deep infection and superficial wound edge necrosis increased significantly with open fractures and delay in surgery of more than 2 weeks after injury in closed fractures. Clinical results were adversely affected by even minor residual steps in the posterior facet (1-2 mm) as judged by CT or Brodén views (p < 0.001). Böhler's tuberosity-joint-angle had an impact on the final result when falling short compared to the unaffected contralateral side by more than 30% (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Management of intra-articular calcaneus fractures with a standardized protocol of ORIF and early mobilization leads to reproducible good or excellent clinical results in a majority of patients. New approaches like an interlocking calcaneus plate, the use of subtalar arthroscopy, early soft tissue coverage for complex open injuries and percutaneous screw fixation for selected fractures should further improve prognosis.


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