Current Evidence: Plate Versus Intramedullary Nail for Fixation of Distal Tibia Fractures in 2016

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Abstract

Summary:

Displaced distal tibia shaft fractures are effectively treated with standard plates and intramedullary nails. Plate fixation performed with meticulous soft tissue handling results in minimal risks of infection and poor wound healing. Standard plates have high rates of primary union, whereas locking plates may delay union because of increased stiffness. Tibial healing may also be delayed after plating of the fibula, although fibula reduction and fixation may aid accuracy of reduction of the tibia. Malalignment occurs more often with infrapatellar intramedullary nailing versus plates, and early results of suprapatellar nailing appear promising in minimizing intraoperative malalignment. Long-term function after fixation of the distal tibia is good for most, with poor outcomes often associated with baseline social and mental health issues.

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