Functional and radiological assessment of complex tibial plateau fractures managed with Ilizarov fixator: a study of 60 cases

Sumedh Kumar, Shahbaz Siddiqui


Background: Tibial plateau fractures represent 1% of fractures in adults. The soft tissue envelope is in jeopardy in these fractures and can be complicated by wound dehiscence and osteomyelitis. In an Ilizarov fixator, the juxta-articular wires are placed percutaneously with minimal disruption of periosteal and endosteal blood supplies, olive wires can compress the fracture lines. The aim was to analyse the results of application of Ilizarov fixator in patients with Schatzker V and VI of tibial plateau.

Methods: The study was conducted with 60 patients who sustained Schatzker V and VI type of tibial plateau fractures, of either sex, of an age of more than 18 years as a prospective observational study. 50 patients were treated with closed reduction and ligamentotaxis and 10 with mini open reduction prior to ring fixator application. They were followed up for a mean period of 15.4 months. The results were assessed in according to the criteria of Honkonen and Jarvinen (1992).

Results: All the fractures united at a mean of 13.2 weeks. 48 patients felt their knee to be fully stable and 4 patients had severe pain. All patients were able to fully extend their knee, 36 patients had a flexion of >130 degrees and in 24 ranged between 110-129 degrees. There were 40 excellent results, 12 good, 4 fair and 4 poor. 14 patients had pin tract infections which were treated by antibiotics, 4 patients required changing the pin.

Conclusions: Application of Ilizarov fixator is a useful method for early, definitive management of complex tibial plateau fractures with excellent results.


Tibial plateau fracture, Complex fractures, Ilizarov external fixator, Ligamentotaxis

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