Intramedullary Nailing with a Suprapatellar Approach and Condylar Bolts for the Treatment of Bicondylar Fractures of the Tibial Plateau

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Background:Bicondylar tibial plateau fractures have been treated with either plating or external fixation techniques, with conflicting results. A recently introduced technique involving the combined use of intramedullary nailing via a suprapatellar approach and condylar bolts could represent a new pathway toward better treatment of this severe injury.Methods:The present report describes a retrospective and prospective study of all 17 patients (age range, 25 to 75 years) who were admitted under the author’s care for the treatment of a closed, bicondylar tibial plateau fracture between 2013 and 2015. All patients consented to undergo fixation of the fracture with intramedullary nailing through a suprapatellar approach and with use of condylar bolts. The reconstructed articular surface was supported with freeze-dried allograft that had been previously soaked in concentrated bone marrow. The patients were followed at regular intervals, and the results were assessed with the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).Results:All patients were followed for at least 1 year (average and standard deviation, 25.23 ± 8.95 months; range, 12 to 46 months). All fractures united clinically and radiographically between 10 and 22 weeks (average, 15.1 ± 2.91 weeks), with no instances of neurovascular complication, infection, or implant failure. One patient underwent early revision of the fixation because of unsatisfactory reduction of the articular surface, and 1 patient had secondary fracture displacement. One condylar bolt was removed after fracture healing because of irritation at the insertion site. However, all patients regained knee motion without physiotherapy and all were fully weight-bearing by the fifth postoperative month.Conclusions:The short and intermediate-term results associated with the use of the proposed technique appear to be satisfactory. However, the effectiveness of the technique should be reassessed with long-term studies as well as comparative studies involving other fixation techniques.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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