Outcomes After Acute Versus Staged Fixation of Complete Articular Tibial Plafond Fractures : Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma

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Outcomes After Acute Versus Staged Fixation of Complete Articular Tibial Plafond Fractures

Flanagan, Christopher D. MD; Lufrano, Reuben C. MD; Mesa, Lazaro MD; Watson, David MD; Shah, Anjan R. MD; Maxson, Benjamin J. DO; Infante, Anthony DO; Donohue, David MD; Downes, Katheryne PhD; Sanders, Roy W. MD; Mir, Hassan R. MD, MBA

Author Information
Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma 37(6):p 294-298, June 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000002572



To determine the outcomes after acute versus staged fixation of complete articular tibial plafond fractures.


Retrospective cohort study.


Single Level 1 Trauma center.


98 skeletally mature patients with OTA/AO 43C type fractures who underwent definitive fixation with plate and screw constructs and had a minimum 6 months of follow-up.


Acute open reduction internal fixation (aORIF) versus staged (sORIF) definitive fixation.

Main Outcome Measurement: 

Rates of wound dehiscence/necrosis and deep infection.


Acute (N = 40) versus staged (N = 58) ORIF groups had comparable rates of vascular disease, renal disease, and substance/nicotine use, but aORIF patients had higher rates of diabetes mellitus (10% vs. 0%, P < 0.001), which correlated with higher American Society of Anaesthesiologist scores (>American Society of Anaesthesiologist 3: 37.5% vs. 13.8%, P = 0.02). Both groups achieved anatomic/good reductions, as determined by postoperative CT scans, at rates greater than 90%; however, the sORIF group required modestly longer operative times to achieve this outcome (aORIF vs. sORIF: 121 vs. 146 minutes, P = 0.02). Postoperatively, both groups had similar rates of wound dehiscence (2.5% vs. 6.9%, P = 0.65), superficial infections (10% vs. 17.2%, P = 0.39), and deep infections (10% vs. 8.6%, P = 0.99). While the injury pattern itself required free flap coverage in 1 patient in each group, unplanned free flap coverage occurred in 10.0% and 10.3% of aORIF and sORIF groups, respectively. Overall, rates of unplanned reoperations, excluding ankle arthrodesis, did not differ between groups (aORIF vs. sORIF:12.5% vs. 25.9%, P = 0.13).


In select patients managed by fellowship-trained orthopaedic traumatologists, acute definitive pilon fixation can produce acceptable outcomes.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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