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Direct Reduction with Indirect Fixation of Distal Tibial Physeal Fractures: A Report of a Technique

Lintecum, Neal M.D.*; Blasier, R. Dale M.D. F.R.C.S(C.)*†

Tibial Fracture

Summary: Displaced intraarticular fractures of the distal tibia in children often require open reduction and internal fixation. Displaced epiphyseal fractures in the sagittal plane may be difficult directly to visualize from a standard medial malleolar incision, so accurate reduction may be impossible. Approaching the ankle joint by anterior arthrotomy, the fracture line can be directly visualized and accurately manipulated and reduced. However, access to the medial malleolus for insertion of internal fixation devices may be difficult from an anterior incision. We have found that after anterior arthrotomy and open reduction, rigid fixation can be placed percutaneously from medially or, in exceptional cases, from laterally under fluoroscopic control. The physis and talocrural joint can be seen and avoided in the growing child. Thirteen cases fixed by this method are reported. At 12.2-month average follow-up, clinical results were excellent. There were no instances of joint degenerative changes but one growth derangement.

*Arkansas Children's Hospital, and Department of Orthopaedics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. R. D. Blasier, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 800 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR 72202, U.S.A.

This study was conducted at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.