Definitive Management of Distal Tibia and Simple Plafond Fractures With Circular External Fixation

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Abstract

Summary:

Obtaining optimal results in the treatment of extraarticular distal tibia fractures can be challenging. Plate and screw and intramedullary fixation have proven to be effective treatments, but are associated with significant complication rates when used for open fractures and patient with severe medical comorbidities. External fixation is a third alternative that is less often employed, but provides a very effective means of treatment. Circular external fixation offers great flexibility in obtaining anatomic alignment and stable fixation for even the most challenging distal tibia fractures. In addition, it provides advantages in limiting the risk of deep infection, dealing with bone loss, and obtaining soft tissue coverage. The greater ease of treatment and potential economic advantage in patient cohorts with low complication rates, such as closed fractures, supports the preferential use of internal fixation. However, circular external fixation may be the preferred treatment for patients with higher-grade open fractures, a poor soft tissue envelope with limited fixation options distally, and major comorbidities (diabetes, immune deficiency) with an associated high risk of complications.

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