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Triplane fractures of the distal tibia in children

Adrian Chong Beng Tan, Roland Weng Wah Chong, Arjandas Mahadev
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery 2013, 21 (1): 55-9

PURPOSE: To review 28 cases of paediatric triplane fractures of the distal tibia over a 7-year period in a tertiary paediatric hospital.

METHODS: Records of 21 boys and 7 girls aged 11 to 15 (mean, 13) years presented with triplane fractures of the left (n=14) and right (n=14) ankles were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Injury mechanism included low-energy trauma (n=10) and moderate-energy trauma (n=18). Fractures were 2-part in 20 patients, 3-part in 6, and 4-part in 2. 11 patients had concomitant fibular fractures. Articular displacement was <2 mm in 17 patients and ≥2 mm in 11 patients. 17 patients were treated conservatively (cast immobilisation); 11 were treated surgically by closed reduction and percutaneous pinning (n=1), open reduction and percutaneous pinning (n=5), closed reduction and internal fixation (n=3), or open reduction and internal fixation (n=2). Transepiphyseal partially threaded cannulated screws were used for fixation. The mean period of casting was 5.8 weeks, and the mean non- weight bearing period was 6.1 weeks. The mean follow-up period was 14.2 (range, 9-20) weeks. All patients had excellent outcome. No patient had any infections, delayed or non-union. Six patients had decreased range of motion and 4 had pain 4 weeks after cast removal.

CONCLUSION: Treatment outcome of triplane fractures of the distal tibia in children is good when guidelines are closely adhered to.

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