Clinical and radiographic outcomes in patients operated for complex open tibial pilon fractures.


Department of Orthopaedic Surgey, Ospedale Maggiore, Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To report clinical and radiographic results of treatment of patients with complex open tibial pilon fractures.
METHODS : A retrospective analysis in 14 patients with complex open pilon fractures treated between 2010 and 2015 was conducted. The injuries were graded according to AO Classification and the Gustillo-Anderson system. Routine follow-up was performed at 1, 3, 6, 12 month with an annual evaluation thereafter. All patients were included for the assessment of the rate of infection, wound and fracture-healing. Functional outcome assessment was performed in all patients according to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Score (AOFAS) at 12 months after the injury. The radiological outcome was evaluated through standard XR using the criteria proposed by Burwell and Charnley.
RESULTS : Analysis were conducted in 12 men and 2 women, with a mean age of 50.4 years (20-77) who were followed up for an average 34 months (range: 9-60 months). All patients had a AO type 43C fracture. There were three Gustilo Type IIIA injuries, seven Type III B and four Type III C. The mean time to fracture healing was 6.3 months. 4 patients underwent definitive treatment with external fixation at the time of the initial irrigation and debridement. 10 patients underwent delayed definitive surgery: in 10 patients ORIF was used. Soft-tissue coverage by vascularized muscle flap was necessary in 4 patients (28%) and was typically performed on the day of definitive fixation. One patient required iliac crest bone-grafting. 4 patients (28%) had a deep infection.6 patients (43%) had a superficial pin infection or cellulitis. 6 patients (43%) presented delayed union. The average AOFAS score was 71.5 (40-95). According to the Burwell-Charnley score, the anatomical reduction of the fracture was obtained in 50% of patients and a good reduction in 86% of cases. 5 patients (35.7%) had loss of joint congruity and evidence of osteoarthritis on radiographs at final follow-up. No patient needed arthrodesis or amputation.
CONCLUSIONS : The results of our study suggest that open tibial pilon fractures can be safely managed with low rate of complications using intensive debridement, antibiotics, adequate devices and patient-tailored timing of definitive surgical treatment.


External fixation,Open fracture,Pilon fracture,Plafond fracture,Surgery,

OUR Recent Articles