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Isolated dislocation of the ankle with grade III open fracture has been scarcely reported. These ankle injuries usually involved mortise fractures, complete dislocation of the tibial astragaloid joint, capsuloligamentous structure disruption, and severe soft-tissue damage. There is no well-recognized regimen that would result in desirable outcomes.
Sixteen patients with grade III open dislocated ankle fractures were treated immediately with bioabsorbable implants and an external fixator between January 2003 and June 2007. According to the classification system of Gustilo and Anderson, five patients were grade IIIA, seven were grade IIIB, and four were grade IIIC. Surgical interventions included combined internal fixation with bioabsorbable screws/rods and external fixation.
Patients underwent clinical and radiologic examination at an average of 18.1 months after surgery. Outcomes were excellent in seven patients (three IIIA, three IIIB, and one IIIC), good in four (one IIIA, two IIIB, and one IIIC), fair in three (one IIIA, one IIIB, and one IIIC), and poor in two (one IIIB, and one IIIC). In the two patients with poor outcomes, bone defect and cartilage exfoliating in the distal tibia were found during surgery. Painful osteoarthritis in the ankle was discovered 2 years after surgery. Another case had pin tract infections in the external fixator 3 months after surgery. There was no case of late deep infection.
It may be a reasonable and desirable option that bioabsorbable implants combined with an external fixator be applied for treatment of severe open dislocated ankle fractures. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(4): 307–315, 2011)