JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Primary Ilizarov ankle fusion for nonreconstructable tibial plafond fractures]

Robert J Feibel, Hans K Uhthoff
Operative Orthopädie und Traumatologie 2005, 17 (4-5): 457-80
16331382

OBJECTIVE: Ankle arthrodesis in a plantigrade position. In high-energy open injuries with segmental bone loss: proximal tibial metaphyseal corticotomy with distal Ilizarov bone transport for compensation of leg length discrepancy.

INDICATIONS: Posttraumatic loss of the tibial plafond, usually resulting from open fracture type IIIC.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Ipsilateral foot injuries impairing ambulation after fusion. Severe injury to the posterior tibial nerve with absent plantar sensation. Soft-tissue injury not manageable surgically. Inadequate patient compliance. Advanced age. Severe osteoporosis. Acute infection.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE: Standard technique: anteromedial longitudinal incision. Removal of remaining articular cartilage. Passing of Ilizarov wires through the distal fibula, talar neck and body. Placement of 5-mm half-pins through stab incisions, perpendicular to the medial face of the tibial shaft. A lateral to medial 1.8-mm Ilizarov wire in the proximal tibial metaphysis is optional. Callus distraction/Ilizarov bone transport: exposure through an anteromedial incision or transverse traumatic wound. Removal of small residual segment of tibial plafond blocking transport. Retain small vascularized bone fragments not blocking transport. For Ilizarov external fixation, two rings in the proximal tibial region. Drill osteoclasis of the tibial metaphysis 1 cm distal to the tibial tuberosity and complete with Ilizarov osteotome. Secure the Ilizarov threaded rods or clickers. Weight bearing as tolerated. Begin distraction 14 days after corticotomy at a rate of 0.5-1 mm per day depending on patient's age. After docking: Ilizarov ankle arthrodesis.

RESULTS: Between January 1993 and September 1996, four patients (two men, two women) with severe, nonreconstructable fractures of the tibial plafond were treated. Callus distraction and Ilizarov bone transport in three patients. Age range 19-68 years (average age 45.7 years). Mean follow-up 6.6 years (4 years 9 months to 7 years 4 months). Average duration of the entire treatment in external fixation 54.4 days/cm for the three bone distraction patients. Mean transport 6 cm (4.5-8.5 cm). One patient required repeat ankle arthrodesis.

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