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Searching for a New Parameter in the Healing of Tibia Pilon Fractures: Fracture Area Measurement

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  • 1 Ankara City Hospital, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Clinic, Üniversiteler Mahallesi, Çankaya, Ankara, Turkey.
  • | 2 Batman Education and Research Hospital, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Clinic, Batman, Turkey.
  • | 3 Yüksekova State Hospital, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Clinic, Hakkari, Turkey.
  • | 4 Koç University Hospital, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department, Istanbul, Turkey.
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Background: Tibia pilon fractures are associated with high complication rates, decreased quality of life, and low patient satisfaction. Although many factors such as reduction quality and soft-tissue coverage have been identified, researchers continue to investigate the factors that affect healing in tibia pilon fractures. Our objective was to investigate the effect of initial fracture crack width and displacement degree on clinical functional results in tibia pilon fractures.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, 40 patients with Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen and Orthopaedic Trauma Association type 43B and 43C tibia pilon fractures and operated on through the extensile anteromedial approach were analyzed. The demographic data of the patients, injury mechanisms, fracture type, reduction quality, clinical results, and postoperative complications were recorded. To evaluate the objective quantity of initial fracture crack width and displacement, a new parameter was defined: “fracture area.” All measurements were conducted using a feature from the picture archiving and communication system on anteroposterior and lateral radiographs taken separately in standard fashion.

Results: With an average follow-up period of 29.2 months (range, 24–40 months), 34 patients (85%) had excellent or good results, whereas only two patients (5%) had poor clinical results. Age, injury mechanism, and reduction quality have a significant relationship with Maryland Foot Score (P < .001, P < .037, and P < .001, respectively). Preoperative fracture area, measured on both the anteroposterior and the lateral views, are significantly related to both Ovadia-Beals Score and Maryland Foot Score (P < .001 for each).

Conclusions: Preoperative fracture area measurement has a major effect on healing of tibia pilon fractures. Increased initial fracture area is correlated with poor clinical functional results. High-energy injuries, older age, and poor reduction quality are also related to worse clinical outcomes.

Corresponding author: Batuhan Gencer, MD, Ankara City Hospital, Üniversiteler Mahallesi, 1604, Cadde No: 9, Çankaya, Ankara 06800, Turkey. (E-mail: gencer.batuhan@gmail.com)