One hundred consecutive patients with displaced fractures of the tibial
shaft were randomly assigned to two groups, one treated with AO-plate
fixation and the other with conservative methods. Strictly conservative
treatment failed in two patients because of the interposition of muscles.
Comparison of the groups showed that a longer duration of hospital stay was
needed in the AO-plate group, and there were also more complications in
that group. However, the median healing time was shorter and the anatomical
end results were better than in the conservatively treated patients. Closed
longitudinal fractures were found to be suitable and open fractures,
unsuitable for AO-plate fixation. In the group that was treated
conservatively most fractures that healed in malalignment were located in
the distal third of the tibial shaft.