Talar neck and body fractures

Stefan Rammelt, Hans Zwipp
Injury 2009, 40 (2): 120-35
Fractures of the talar neck and body are rare and serious injuries. The vast majority are either intra-articular or lead indirectly to an intra-articular incongruity through a dislocation at the talar neck. Because of the high energy needed to produce talar fractures, they are frequently seen in multiply injured and polytraumatised patients. Open fractures and fracture-dislocations are treated as emergencies. Preoperative planning of definite internal fixation requires CT scanning. To obtain a complete intra-operative overview allowing for anatomical reconstruction of the articular surfaces and the axial deviation bilateral approaches are usually necessary. Internal fixation is achieved with screws or mini-plates supplemented by temporary K-wire transfixation in cases of marked additional ligamentous instability. The clinical outcome after talar neck and body fractures is determined by the severity of the injury and the quality of reduction and internal fixation. The timing of definite internal fixation does not appear to affect the final result. The rates of avascular necrosis (AVN) correlate with the degree of initial dislocation. Only total AVN with collapse of the talar body leads to inferior results with the need for further surgery whilst prolonged immobilisation or offloading of the affected foot is not indicated for partial AVN. Talar malunions and non-unions after inadequate treatment of displaced fractures are debiliating conditions that should be treated by surgical correction. Treatment options include corrective osteotomy by recreating the former fracture with secondary fixation, free or vascularised bone grafting and salvage by realignment and fusion of the affected joint(s).

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