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Percutaneous plating of distal tibial fractures in children and adolescents

Masquijo, Julio J.

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics B: May 2014 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 207–211
doi: 10.1097/BPB.0000000000000036

Fractures of the tibia and fibula are among the most common injuries involving the lower extremities in children and adolescents. Although most can be treated nonoperatively, with satisfactory long-term results, some fractures require surgical stabilization. The increasing experience in adults with minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis for the treatment of complex fractures of the lower extremity has supported the treatment of selected distal tibia fractures in older children and adolescents. This article details the surgical technique for plating of the distal tibia using the percutaneous approach and assesses the results and complications in a pediatric series. We retrospectively reviewed 11 consecutive patients with open physes who had undergone percutaneous plating of a distal tibial fracture between January 2008 and January 2012. All patients were monitored clinically and radiographically until fracture union. Complications related to treatment, such as malunion, delayed union, nonunion, infection, and the need for subsequent surgical treatment, were recorded. Eleven patients (11 tibial fractures) were treated with minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis. The average follow-up period was 22 months (range, 12–48 months). Fractures healed with an average time to union of 9.4 weeks (range, 8–16 weeks). There were no cases of delayed union or nonunion. No clinically evident neurovascular complications were observed. One patient had a superficial infection, treated successfully by oral antibiotics. There were no cases of rotational deformity or leg-length discrepancy at the final follow-up. Because of its biologic advantages and stable fixation that allows early mobilization, percutaneous plating seems a reasonable treatment option for selected distal tibial fractures in children and adolescents. Level of evidence: Level IV therapeutic study – Case series.

Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Sanatorio Allende, Córdoba, Argentina

Correspondence to Julio J. Masquijo, MD, Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Sanatorio Allende, H. Irigoyen 384, CP 5009 Córdoba, Argentina Tel: +54 351 4269201; fax: +54 351 4269209; e-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.