Background: Pronation-abduction ankle fractures frequently are associated with substantial lateral comminution and have been reported to be associated with the highest rates of nonunion among indirect ankle fractures. The purpose of the present study was to report the technique for and outcomes of extraperiosteal plating in a series of patients with pronation-abduction ankle fractures.
Methods: Thirty-one consecutive patients with an unstable comminuted pronation-abduction ankle fracture were managed with extraperiosteal plating of the fibular fracture. The average age of the patients was forty-four years. There were nineteen bimalleolar and twelve lateral malleolar fractures with an associated deltoid ligament injury. No attempt to reduce the comminuted fragments was made as this area was spanned by the plate. The patients were evaluated functionally (with use of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score), radiographically, and clinically (with range-of-motion testing).
Results: Immediate postoperative and final follow-up radiographs showed that all patients had a well-aligned ankle mortise on the fractured side as compared with the normal side on the basis of standardized measurements. All fractures healed without displacement. At a minimum of two years after the injury, the average American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score (available for twenty-one patients) was 82. The range of motion averaged 13° of dorsiflexion and 31° of plantar flexion, with one patient not achieving dorsiflexion to neutral. There were no deep infections, and one patient had an area of superficial skin breakdown that healed without operative intervention.
Conclusions: Extraperiosteal plating of pronation-abduction ankle fractures is an effective method of stabilization that leads to predictable union of the fibular fracture. The results of this procedure are at least as good as those of other techniques of open reduction and internal fixation of the ankle, although specific results for pronation-abduction injuries have not been previously reported, to our knowledge.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. A commercial entity (Smith and Nephew) paid or directed in any one year, or agreed to pay or direct, benefits in excess of $10,000 to a research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
A video supplement to this article is being developed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and JBJS and will be available at the JBJS web site, www.jbjs.org. To obtain a copy of the video, contact the AAOS at 800-626-6726 or go to their web site, www.aaos.org, and click on Educational Resources Catalog.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
- Copyright © 2007 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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