Primary arthrodesis of the tibiotalar joint in severely comminuted high-energy pilon fractures

Boris A. Zelle, Gary S. Gruen, Ryan L. McMillen, Jason Dragavon Dahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: The treatment of highly comminuted tibial pilon fractures is controversial. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness and outcomes of primary arthrodesis following highly comminuted tibial plafond fractures. Methods: A database search was performed to identify all patients who underwent blade plate arthrodesis at our institution over a sixteen-year period. Inclusion criteria included patients with an Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen/ Orthopaedic Trauma Association type-C2 or type-C3 pilon fracture that was deemed to be non-reconstructable by the treating surgeon. Outcomes were measured using the Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey, time to independent walking, time to consolidation of the arthrodesis, and wound-healing complications. Results: A total of twenty patients were included in this study, and seventeen patients (85%) were available for follow-up at a minimum of two years after their surgery. Wound infections or wound dehiscence did not occur in this series. All patients were walking without crutches or a walker at their latest follow-up. One patient developed an aseptic nonunion and healed successfully after revision surgery. Conclusions: Blade plate ankle fusion using a posterior approach is a reliable method for the treatment of a small subset of patients with severely comminuted, non-reconstructable pilon fractures. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e91.1-e91.6
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 4 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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