Comparable outcomes with intramedullary nail and plate constructs for Schatzker VI tibial plateau fractures

Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2023 Jul;33(5):1653-1661. doi: 10.1007/s00590-022-03326-8. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Background: Outcomes data of intramedullary nail fixation (IMN) constructs for complex Schatzker VI tibial plateau fractures are scant in the literature. This study compares the clinical and radiographic outcomes of IMN, dual plate, and single plate constructs for Schatzker IV tibial plateau fractures.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study of sixty-two patients at a University-based Level 1 trauma center who underwent open reduction internal fixation for Schatzker VI tibial plateau fracture. Constructs evaluated were IMN (with or without raft screws), dual plating, and single plating. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic outcomes were recorded. All fractures were additionally classified based on the OTA classification for sub analyses. Mean follow-up was 13.2 (SD 13.3) months. Predictors of construct selection and outcomes were evaluated with bivariate logistic regression. Outcomes were compared between groups with independent samples t-tests and Chi Square tests.

Results: No significant demographic differences were found between IMN, dual plate or single plate construct cohorts. There was a higher proportion of open fractures within the IMN construct group versus the dual plate cohort (21.1% vs 3.6%). No statistically significant differences in radiographic outcomes were observed between cohort groups except for small but statistically significant differences in condylar width (CW) ratio change and tibial slope; when fracture cohorts were sub analyzed by specific OTA classification, there were no significant differences in any radiographic outcomes. There was a significant difference between the ratio of OTA 41C1, C2 and C3 fractures regarding treatment allocation (p = 0.004), favoring dual plate fixation for OTA 41C3 fractures. There were no significant differences found between treatment cohorts in terms of all cause complications (p > 0.05). IMN and single plate constructs were utilized when posteromedial condyle fractures were nondisplaced or minimally displaced.

Conclusion: Intramedullary nail fixation with or without supplemental raft screws produced similar short-term clinical and radiographic results compared to dual and single plate constructs among patients with Schatzker VI fracture types, regardless of OTA classification. Level of Evidence Level III retrospective cohort.

Keywords: Intramedullary fixation; Outcome study; Tibial plateau fracture.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Plates
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibial Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Fractures* / surgery
  • Tibial Plateau Fractures*
  • Treatment Outcome