Timing of internal fixation and effect on Schatzker IV-VI tibial plateau fractures

Chin J Traumatol. 2012;15(2):81-5.


Objective: To study the effect of internal fixation performed at different times on therapeutic outcomes of Schatzker IV-VI tibial plateau fractures.

Methods: The clinical data of 42 cases of Schatzker IV-VI tibial plateau fractures treated in our department were analyzed retrospectively. Among these 42 patients, 21 received surgical treatment within 12 h after injury (Group I), the other 21 were first treated by traction or plaster fixation followed by a delayed internal fixation after soft tissue swelling subsided (Group II). The surgical time, complications, length of hospital stay, cost of hospitalization, and time for fracture union, as well as functional recovery were analyzed and compared between the two groups.

Results: After 10-28 months follow-up (mean 16.5 months), except 5 cases who lost to follow-up, no differences were found between the two groups regarding surgical time, preoperative and postoperative complications, healing time or the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) score at the end of follow-up, but significant differences were found in the length of hospital stay, cost of hospitalization and HSS score at 3 months after operation (P less than 0.05).

Conclusion: Under certain conditions, early internal fixation for Schatzker IV-VI tibial plateau fracture is feasible, which can shorten the length of hospital stay, decrease the cost of hospitalization and promote early functional rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Fracture Fixation, Internal*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibial Fractures* / surgery