Plating as an operative management of intra articular fractures of the upper end of tibia: a prospective clinical study

Namdev Gorgile, Vinod Jagtap, Yash Shah, Vikas Rokade, Girish Bartakke


Background: Tibial plateau fracture management is challenging because of the severe displacement of the bony fragments, the concomitant depression and impaction of the cancellous subchondral bone, and the inevitable associated cartilage injury.

Methods: A prospective cohort study of 25 patients who suffered high energy intra-articular fractures of proximal tibia was done and they were diagnosed and classified according to Schatzker’s classification. The study was done to study the outcomes of surgical management of high energy tibial plateau fractures with buttress plate, to achieve anatomical reduction and absolute stable internal fixation to prevent malunion, to achieve early mobilisation, to prevent post-operative knee stiffness and also to determine timing of operation after trauma and sequence of fixation of bicondylar fractures. All patients were treated with open reduction and internal fixation with a buttress plate either a lateral, medial or bicondylar plating.

Results: Average radio-graphic bony union time was 12 weeks. Average full weight bearing time was 13 weeks. Knee stiffness improved with physiotherapy and full range was achieved on an average in 8 weeks, mean range of movement 0-124.5º was achieved. 4 patients (16%) developed infection.

Conclusions: Fractures of upper end of tibia can be treated with the plating technique, to achieve anatomical reduction and stable internal fixation with 82% good functional outcome. The plating technique facilitates early mobilisation of injured joint and attains good range of movements. Minimal mal reduction does not seem to vitiate the results. The infection rate of 16% is of concern with this procedure, but responds well to antibiotics and surgical debridement.


Proximal tibia, Buttress plating, Three column classification system

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