The blade-plate is the earliest of the contemporary internal fixation devices introduced for distal femoral fractures. The recent development of dedicated, fixation devices has considerably limited its use. The objective of this study was to evaluate outcomes after blade-plate fixation and after fixation using other devices.
Outcomes after blade-plate fixation are similar to those after condylar screw-plate, distal femoral nail, or locking condylar plate fixation.
Material and methods
We reviewed outcomes after 62 patients managed with blade-plate fixation and included in a multicentre retrospective study (n=57) or a multicentre prospective study (n=5) and we compared them to outcomes after fixation using condylar screw-plates (n=82), distal femoral nail (n=219), or locking condylar plates (n=301). The four groups were comparable for age, gender distribution, occupational status, prevalence of skin wounds, patient-related factors, type of accident, and type of fracture. The evaluation relied on the clinical International Knee Society (IKS) score and on radiographs.
No significant differences existed across the four groups for operative time, blood transfusion use, complications, need for bone grafting, non-union rate, or IKS score values. The early surgical revision rate for removal of the fixation material was 4% with the blade-plate and 16% with the other three fixation devices (P=0.02). Post-operative fracture deformity was similar in the four groups with, however, a higher proportion of residual malalignment in the screw-fixation group. The final anatomic axis was 3.3±1.4° with the blade-plate versus 2.3±3.7° with the other three fixation devices. The blade-plate group had few patients with axial malalignment, and the degree of malalignment was limited to 3° of varus and 10° of valgus at the most, compared to 10° and 18° respectively, with the other three fixation devices.
Despite the now extremely limited use and teaching of blade-plate fixation, as well as the undeniable technical challenges raised by the implantation of this device, the blade-plate is a simple, strong, and inexpensive fixation method. It remains reliable for the fixation of distal femoral fractures. The disfavour into which the blade-plate is currently falling is not warranted.
Level of evidence
III, case-control study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Distal femoral fractures, Internal fixation, Blade-plate