[Results of open reduction and cortico-cancellous autograft of intra-articular calcaneal fractures according to Palmer]

M Di Schino, M Bensaïda, E Vandenbussche, B Augereau, C Nich
Revue de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Réparatrice de L'appareil Moteur 2008, 94 (2): 135-44

OBJECTIVE: To assess the mid-term patient outcome after operative treatment of a displaced intra-articular calcaneal fracture according to Palmer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eighteen operatively treated intra-articular fractures of the calcaneus in 16 patients (nine males, seven females) were retrospectively reviewed. Mean age at surgery was 35 years (range, 17-61 years). Two patients had a bilateral fracture. According to Rev Chir Orthop 79 (1993) 49-57, five fractures (28 percent) were classified as vertical, three as horizontal (17 percent), and 10 (55 percent) as combined. Mean preoperative Böhler angle was -4 degrees (range, -42-26 degrees ). An extended lateral approach to the calcaneus was used in each case. A cortical bone autograft was firmly impacted in the sub thalamic void after reduction. Stabilization was achieved by two or three axial Kirschner wires and one or two screw(s) inserted in a transverse position. Patients were evaluated at the last follow-up by physical examination and by the functional score described by Foot Ankle Int 15 (1994) 349-353. Böhler's angle was measured on the immediate postoperative radiographs and at the last follow-up, and compared when possible with the noninjured side.

RESULTS: Follow-up ranged from 12 to 38 months (average, 23 months). One patient (one calcaneus) required a subtalar arthrodesis for advanced osteoarthritis. One patient (one calcaneus) experienced reflex sympathetic dystrophy. No skin complication was noted. At the last follow-up evaluation, mean Kitaoka score was 74 (range, 34-98). Functional score was considered good or excellent in 11 cases (64.7 percent), fair in three (17.6 percent) and poor in three (17.6 percent). Mean Böhler angle was 23.4 degrees (range, 5-40 degrees ) postoperatively and 22.7 degrees (range, 0-38 degrees ) at the last follow-up. A modest loss of correction was observed in four cases. Final Böhler angle was at least 85 percent comparatively to the healthy side in 10 cases among 14 unilateral fractures. Functional score correlated well with restoration of Böhler's angle.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Operative treatment of intra-articular calcaneal fractures according to Palmer provided encouraging results, since restoration of Böhler's angle was obtained. Main advantages include an absence of hardware prominence, resulting in an absence of skin complication, and a stable fixation.

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