Immediate internal fixation of open, complex tibial plateau fractures: treatment by a standard protocol

J Orthop Trauma. 1992;6(1):78-86.


A retrospective review of 46 consecutive patients with complex (Schatzker V and VI) tibial plateau fractures treated at Harborview Medical Center between 1984 and 1989, disclosed a subset of 14 grade II or III (Gustilo) open injuries. We wished to determine the incidence of infection, union rate, and the number of operations required to achieve a satisfactory result, based on a treatment protocol: alignment and splinting of fracture at the scene of injury if possible, antibiotics administered in the emergency room (ER) and continued for 48 h, and admission of patient to the operating room as quickly as possible for irrigation and thorough debridement of the wound, immediate rigid internal fixation, and delayed primary closure at 5 days. No acute deep infection or radiographic evidence of implant loosening was noted. The final outcome was graded by Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Knee Rating Score at an average follow-up of 2 years 7 months. Radiographs were reviewed for reduction and evidence of postoperative change in reduction. The average HSS Functional Score was 81.5, and Knee Score was 84.6. Of 14 limbs, 10 had an excellent radiographic grade that did not change at follow-up, 2 had a satisfactory grade, and 2 had a poor grade.

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Transplantation / standards
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Debridement / standards
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / standards*
  • Fractures, Open / classification
  • Fractures, Open / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Open / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / standards
  • Tibial Fractures / classification
  • Tibial Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Fractures / surgery*
  • Walking
  • Washington / epidemiology