Purpose High-energy proximal tibial fractures often accompany compartment syndrome and are usually treated by fasciotomy with external fixation followed by secondary plating. However, the initial soft tissue injury may affect bony union, the fasciotomy incision or external fixator pin sites may lead to postoperative wound infections, and the staged procedure itself may adversely affect lower limb function. We assess the results of staged minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis (MIPO) for proximal tibial fractures with acute compartment syndrome. Methods Twenty-eight patients with proximal tibial fractures accompanied by acute compartment syndrome who underwent staged MIPO and had a minimum of 12 months follow-up were enrolled. According to the AO/OTA classification, 6 were 41-A, 15 were 41-C, 2 were 42-A and 5 were 42-C fractures; this included 6 cases of open fractures. Immediate fasciotomy was performed once compartment syndrome was diagnosed and stabilization of the fracture followed using external fixation. After the soft tissue condition normalized, internal conversion with MIPO was done on an average of 37 days (range, 9–158) after index trauma. At the time of internal conversion, the external fixator pin site grades were 0 in 3 cases, 1 in 12 cases, 2 in 10 cases and 3 in 3 cases, as described by Dahl. Radiographic assessment of bony union and alignment and a functional assessment using the Knee Society Score and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score were carried out. Results Twenty-six cases achieved primary bony union at an average of 18.5 weeks. Two cases of nonunion healed after autogenous bone grafting. The mean Knee Society Score and the AOFAS score were 95 and 95.3 respectively, at last follow-up. Complications included 1 case of osteomyelitis in a patient with a grade IIIC open fracture and 1 case of malunion caused by delayed MIPO due to poor wound conditions. Duration of external fixation and the external fixator pin site grade were not related to the occurrence of infection. Conclusions Staged MIPO for proximal tibial fractures with acute compartment syndrome may achieve satisfactory bony union and functional results, while decreasing deep infections and soft tissue complications.
- Compartment syndrome
- Minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis
- Proximal tibial fracture
- Staged procedure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine