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Treatment of Posterior Malleolar Fractures in Elderly Individuals with Kirschner Wire Tension Band Fixation

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  • 1 Tianjin First Center Hospital, Tianjin, People’s Republic of China.
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Background: Generally, posterior malleolar fragments are fixed either with percutaneous anteroposterior screws or through a posterolateral approach using screws and/or a buttress plate. Both surgical methods have some shortcomings, and the use of anteroposterior screws to fix osteoporotic posterior malleolar fractures carries a risk of failure.

Methods: Nine elderly patients (average age, 67 years) with posterior malleolar fractures were treated with transfibular Kirschner wire tension band fixation. According to the Lauge-Hansen classification, all fractures were of the supination-external rotation type. The operative duration, intraoperative blood loss, and wound healing outcome were recorded. During the follow-up period, clinical outcomes were measured using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot score, and the occurrence of complications was observed.

Results: The patients were followed up for 12 to 18 months (mean, 15 months). The operative duration ranged from approximately 30 to 95 minutes, with an average of 70 minutes. Anatomical reduction was achieved in nine cases, and there were no complications, such as skin necrosis, wound infection, or skin sensory disturbance. There was one case of delayed wound healing caused by fat liquefaction, which was cured by a dressing change. The functional scores were excellent in four cases, good in four cases, fair in one case, and poor in zero cases. The rate of excellent and good results was 88.89% (eight of nine), with an average of 78.78 points.

Conclusion: Kirschner wire tension band fixation through a transfibular approach for the treatment of posterior malleolar fractures does not require a change in patient posture. It facilitates the reduction and internal fixation of the posterior malleolar fragment; furthermore, it is easier to remove internal fixation after fracture healing, which provides a new surgical method for elderly patients with posterior malleolus fracture. Thus, this has potential as a new surgical method for elderly patients with posterior malleolar fractures.

Corresponding author: Maozhong Hu, MD, Tianjin First Center Hospital, Fukang Rd No 24, Nankai District, Tianjin 300192, People’s Republic of China. (E-mail: tianjinhmzortholivea@163.com)