Open Access Research article

High energy tibial plateau fractures treated with hybrid external fixation

George C Babis1, Dimitrios S Evangelopoulos2*, Panagiotis Kontovazenitis1, Konstantinos Nikolopoulos3 and Panagiotis N Soucacos1

Author Affiliations

1 A' Orthopaedic Department University of Athens, Attikon University Hospital, Athens, Greece

2 C' Orthopaedic Department, University of Athens, KAT Accidents' Hospital, Athens, Greece

3 Associate Professor, C' Orthopaedic Department, University of Athens, KAT Accidents' Hospital, Athens, Greece

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2011, 6:35  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-6-35

Published: 14 July 2011


Management of high energy intra-articular fractures of the proximal tibia, associated with marked soft-tissue trauma, can be challenging, requiring the combination of accurate reduction and minimal invasive techniques. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether minimal intervention and hybrid external fixation of such fractures using the Orthofix system provide an acceptable treatment outcome with less complications. Between 2002 and 2006, 33 patients with a median ISS of 14.3 were admitted to our hospital, a level I trauma centre, with a bicondylar tibial plateau fracture. Five of them sustained an open fracture. All patients were treated with a hybrid external fixator. In 19 of them, minimal open reduction and stabilization, by means of cannulated screws, was performed. Mean follow-up was 27 months (range 24 to 36 months). Radiographic evidence of union was observed at 3.4 months (range 3 to 7 months). Time for union was different in patients with closed and grade I open fractures compared to patients with grade II and III open fractures. One non-union (septic) was observed (3.0%), requiring revision surgery. Pin track infection was observed in 3 patients (9.1%).

Compared to previously reported series of conventional open reduction and internal fixation, hybrid external fixation with or without open reduction and minimal internal fixation with the Orthofix system, was associated with satisfactory clinical and radiographic results and limited complications.