The management of complex fractures of the proximal tibia with minimal intra-articular impaction in fragility patients using intramedullary nailing and compression bolts

Christos Garnavos, Nikolaos G Lasanianos
Injury 2011, 42 (10): 1066-72

BACKGROUND: Intra-articular fractures of the proximal tibia that extend to the meta-diaphyseal part of the bone represent a severe injury, especially if they occur in osteoporotic patients. Current treatment modalities include either internal fixation with traditional or modern plating techniques or external fixation with circular frames or hybrid systems. However, problems and complications related with these techniques are increasing with age and future reconstructive operations, such as arthroplasty, may be jeopardised.

METHOD: This is a prospective pilot study about a novel type of osteosynthesis for complex intra-articular proximal tibial fractures without significant articular impaction in patients over 60 years of age. Within a period of 54 months, eight patients underwent fixation of such fractures with condylar compression bolts and intramedullary nailing.

RESULTS: The follow-up period was from 12 to 50 months (mean 24.7 months). There were no neurovascular complications, wound infections, delayed unions or nonunions. All patients had their fractures healed without secondary displacement or malalignment. At the final follow-up, all patients had full extension of the knee joint whilst the flexion ranged from 125 to 140°. The mean new Oxford Knee score was calculated to be 43.75 points.

CONCLUSIONS: The management of selected osteoporotic complex intra-articular fractures of the proximal tibia with compression bolts and intramedullary nailing offers specific advantages and, in the present pilot study, provided promising results. These results should be validated and confirmed with larger case series and comparison studies in the future.

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