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Use of an articulated external fixator for fractures of the tibial plafond
JL Marsh; S Bonar; JV Nepola; TA Decoster; SR Hurwitz
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1995 Oct 01;77(10):1498-1509
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We performed a prospective study of forty-nine displaced fractures of the tibial plafond in forty-eight patients managed, at three centers, with an articulated external fixator placed medially across the ankle joint. Forty ankles had interfragmental screw fixation of a reduced articular fracture, and fourteen ankles had bone-grafting. The average duration of external fixation was twelve weeks. All of the fractures healed (one after delayed bone-grafting). There were no infections in any of the operative or traumatic wounds over the tibia. Two wound infections over the fibula resolved with treatment. Eight patients were managed with antibiotics for a pin-site infection, and two patients had curettage and debridement of a pin site in the hindfoot after removal of the fixator. Thirty patients (thirty-one ankles) completed two-year data sheets at an average of thirty months after the injury. The average ankle score was 67 points. Twenty-one patients had grade-0 or 1 osteoarthrosis and nine had grade-2 or 3. One ankle had been treated with an arthrodesis. These data suggest that the prevalence of early complications associated with severe fractures of the tibial plafond and their treatment can be decreased with use of an articulated external fixator combined with limited internal fixation. We concluded that this technique of external fixation is a satisfactory technique for the treatment of these fractures.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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