Author(s): Watson JT, Moed BR, Karges DE, Cramer KE
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Abstract One hundred seven pilon fractures in 107 patients were treated according to a staged prospective protocol. All pilon fractures were stabilized immediately by the application of calcaneal traction. Open fractures or fractures in patients with multiple injuries were stabilized with traveling traction that was applied in the operating room. A distraction computed tomography scan was obtained before definitive treatment. Treatment groups were based on the degree of soft tissue compromise. Forty-one patients with Tscherne Grade 0 or Grade I injuries underwent open reduction and internal fixation (open plating) using contemporary techniques and low-profile implants. Sixty-four patients with Tscherne Grade II and Grade III closed injuries and all patients with open fractures underwent definitive treatment with limited open reduction and stabilization using small wire circular external fixators. Clinical and radiographic evaluations were performed at an average 4.9 years after injury. For all fracture types (AO classification), 81\% of the patients who were treated with external fixation and 75\% of the patients who were treated with open plating had good or excellent results. For severe fracture patterns (Type C), patients in both groups had significantly poorer results than patients with Types A and B fractures. The patients in the open plating group had a significantly higher rate of nonunion, malunion, and severe wound complications compared with the patients who received external fixation for Type C fracture patterns. Because of the increased incidence of bony and soft tissue complications when treating open or closed Type C fractures, use of limited exposures and stabilization with small wire circular external fixators is recommended.
This article was published in Clin Orthop Relat Res
and referenced in Orthopedic & Muscular System: Current Research