Anatomic Description of the Distal Tibia: Implications for Internal Fixation

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Fracture fixation using minimally invasive plating techniques around the distal tibia are well described, although there are a number of potential hazards and complications. Our study provides an anatomical description of the distal tibia and its relations to surrounding structures. Twenty magnetic resonance imaging scans of the distal tibia were analyzed in the coronal, sagittal, and axial planes. Measurements were taken by 2 observers on 2 occasions of the distance of anterior structures from the tibial cortex as well as dimensional parameters. The mean dimensions of the distal tibia at the level of the plafond were 39 mm medial-lateral and 36 mm anteroposterior. The anterior neurovascular bundle was found to be a mean of 3 mm from the anterior tibial cortex with the anterior tendinous structures located <6 mm. The intraclass correlation coefficient for the first observer was 0.8 and for the second observer was 0.78 with an interclass correlation coefficient of 0.8. This demonstrated excellent interobserver and intraobserver reliability. This study presents the first magnetic resonance imaging–based anatomical description of the distal tibia. It showed that key anatomical structures are in very close proximity to the distal tibia, and this is important to consider when treating fractures in this region with internal fixation.Level of Clinical Evidence: 5

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