Antegrade-Retrograde Opposing Lag Screws for Internal Fixation of Simple Displaced Talar Neck Fractures

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Abstract

The talar neck is deviated medially with reference to the long axis of the body of the talus. In addition, it deviates plantarward. The talar neck fracture line is sometimes observed to be oriented obliquely (not perpendicular to the long axis of the talar neck). This occurs when the medially deviated talar neck strikes the horizontally oriented anterior lower tibial edge. Internal fixation of a simple displaced talar neck fracture usually requires 2 lag screws. Because the fracture line is obliquely oriented, a better method for positioning the screws perpendicular to the fracture line is to place them in a reversed direction to provide maximum interfragmentary compression at the fracture site, which could increase the likelihood of absolute stability with subsequent improvement in the incidence of fracture union and a reduction of complications, such as avascular necrosis of the body of the talus. Two lag screws are used, with the first inserted from posteriorly to anteriorly (perpendicular to the fracture line) using a medial approach after medial malleolar chevron osteotomy. The second screw is inserted from anteriorly to posteriorly (perpendicular to the fracture line) using an anterolateral approach. Both screw heads should be countersunk. A series of 8 patients underwent this form of internal fixation for talar neck fracture repair, with satisfactory functional outcomes. In conclusion, the use of antegrade-retrograde opposing lag screws is a reasonable method of internal fixation for simple displaced talar neck fractures.

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