Minimally Invasive Versus Open Distal Fibular Plating for AO/OTA 44-B Ankle Fractures.

Background

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), the standard treatment for unstable ankle fractures, has well-known wound complications. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has been proposed to decrease these complications. The objectives of this study were to describe an algorithm of MIS for fibular plating and compare the radiographic restoration of fibular anatomy, functional outcomes, and complications between ORIF and MIS for ankle fractures.

Methods

This retrospective study included 71 patients with AO/OTA 44-B ankle fractures treated by a single surgeon. ORIF group consisted of 34 patients (54.5-month follow-up) and MIS group was composed of 37 patients (55.9-month follow-up). Among 37 MIS patients, 13 patients were treated with minimally invasive percutaneous plate osteosynthesis and 24 patients with minimally invasive trans-fracture approach according to our MIS algorithm. Operative outcomes were evaluated and compared between the 2 groups by radiographic measurements, functional assessment, and complications.

Results

The MIS group had less blood loss but longer operative time and greater exposure to fluoroscopy. Radiographic measurements revealed similar union time, fibular length, talocrural angle, medial clear space, and tibiofibular clear space in both groups. Lower visual analogue pain score was observed in the MIS group in the early postoperative period. At last follow-up, there were no significant differences regarding pain score, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot score, and range of motion between the 2 groups. Total complication rate was significantly higher in the ORIF group.

Conclusion

Patients with AO/OTA 44-B fractures treated with MIS fibular plating achieved similar radiographic and functional outcomes but had less pain in the early postoperative period and fewer wound complications compared with those treated with ORIF.

Level Of Evidence

Level III, retrospective comparative study.