Ankle Arthrodesis Using Antegrade Intramedullary Nail for Salvage of Nonreconstructable Tibial Pilon Fractures


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Abstract

abstractFull article available online at OrthoSuperSite.com/view.asp?rID=41937The treatment of nonreconstructable tibial pilon fractures for which the optimal timing for reduction and fixation has been missed is challenging. Ankle arthrodesis may be a treatment option in such cases. We treated 2 patients with nonreconstructable tibial pilon fractures using ankle arthrodesis with an antegrade intramedullary nail. Our method included exposing of the ankle joint through a lateral approach; excising the distal fibula, comminuted fragments, and remaining articular cartilage; inserting an intramedullary nail in an antegrade fashion from the proximal tibia into the talus; insertion of 2 interlocking screws in the talus and the proximal tibia; and autologous bone grafting using the excised distal fibula. At latest follow-up at 2 and 1 year respectively, fusion was complete, and both patients were pain free and could walk without support. When ankle arthrodesis is performed for a tibial pilon fracture, an intramedullary nail is thought to be superior to a plate, which is bulky and may impede soft tissue healing. Moreover, insertion of an intramedullary nail in an antegrade fashion can preserve the subtalar joint, and is therefore preferred over placement in a retrograde fashion. Ankle arthrodesis using this technique can be a useful salvage procedure for a nonreconstructable tibial pilon fracture.

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