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Open reduction and internal plate fixation of the fibula is the gold standard treatment for ankle fractures. The aim of this study was to perform a prospective randomized study to compare bone union, complications and functional results of two types of internal fixation of the fibula (plating and the Epifisa® FH intramedullary nail).
Materials and methods
Inclusion criteria were: closed fractures, isolated displaced fractures of the lateral malleolus, inter- and supra-tubercular bimalleolar fractures, and trimalleolar fractures. This study included 71 patients (mean age 53±19): plate fixation group (n=35) and intramedullary nail fixation group (n=36). In seven cases, intramedullary nailing was technically impossible and was converted to plate fixation (the analysis of this sub-group was performed independently). Two patients died and two patients were lost to follow-up. The final comparative series included 32 cases of plate fixation and 28 cases of intramedullary nail fixation. Union, postoperative complications and Kitaoka and Olerud-Molander functional scores were analyzed after one year of follow-up.
There was no significant difference in the rate of union (P=0.5605) between the two types of fixation. There were significantly fewer complications (7% versus 56%) and better functional scores (96 versus 82 for the Kitaoka score; 97 versus 83 for the Olerud-Molander score) with intramedullary nailing than with plate fixation.
Intramedullary nailing of the lateral malleolus in non-comminuted ankle fractures without syndesmotic injury is a reproducible technique with very few complications that provides better functional results than plate fixation.
Level of evidence
II (randomized prospective study).Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Ankle fracture, Lateral malleolar fracture, Internal fixation, Fibular nail