We have carried out a retrospective review of 20 patients with segmental fractures of the tibia who had been treated by circular external fixation. We describe the heterogeneity of these fractures, their association with multiple injuries and the need for multilevel stability with the least compromise of the biology of the fracture segments. The assessment of outcome included union, complications, the measurement of the functional IOWA knee and ankle scores and the general health status (Short-form 36). The mean time to union was 21.7 weeks (12.8 to 31), with no difference being observed between proximal and distal levels of fracture. Complications were encountered in four patients. Two had nonunion at the distal level, one a wire-related infection which required further surgery and another shortening of 15 mm with 8° of valgus which was clinically insignificant. The functional scores for the knee and ankle were good to excellent, but the physical component score of the short-form 36 was lower than the population norm. This may be explained by the presence of multiple injuries affecting the overall score.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine