Variability in evaluation and treatment of tibial tubercle fractures among pediatric orthopedic surgeons

Michael W. Fields, Neil K. Kaushal, Neeraj M. Patel, Sekinat K. McCormick, Craig P. Eberson, Michael L. Schmitz, Ishaan Swarup, John S. Blanco, Lindsay M. Crawford, O. Folorunsho Edobor-Osula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to determine the variability in clinical management of tibial tubercle fractures among a group of pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Nine fellowship-trained academic pediatric orthopedic surgeons reviewed 51 anteroposterior and lateral knee radiographs with associated case age. Respondents were asked to describe each fracture using the Ogden classification (type 1–5 with A/B modifiers), desired radiographic workup, operative vs. nonoperative treatment strategy and plans for post-treatment follow-up. Fair agreement was reached when classifying the fracture type using the Ogden classification (k=0.39; P<0.001). Overall, surgeons had a moderate agreement on whether to treat the fractures operatively vs. nonoperatively (k=0.51; P<0.001). Nonoperative management was selected for 80.4% (45/56) of type 1A fractures. Respondents selected operative treatment for 75% (30/40) of type 1B, 58.3% (14/24) of type 2A, 97.4% (74/76) of type 2B, 90.7% (39/43) of type 3A, 96.3% (79/82) of type 3B, 71.9% (87/121) of type 4 and 94.1% (16/17) of type 5 fractures. Regarding operative treatment, fair/slight agreement was reached when selecting the specifics of operative treatment including surgical fixation technique (k=0.25; P<0.001), screw type (k=0.26; P<0.001), screw size (k=0.08; P<0.001), use of washers (k=0.21; P<0.001) and performing a prophylactic anterior compartment fasciotomy (k=0.20; P<0.001). Furthermore, surgeons had fair/moderate agreement regarding the specifics of nonoperative treatment including degree of knee extension during immobilization (k=0.46; P<0.001), length of immobilization (k=0.34; P<0.001), post-treatment weight bearing status (k=0.30; P<0.001) and post-treatment rehabilitation (k=0.34; P<0.001). Significant variability exists between surgeons when evaluating and treating pediatric tibial tubercle fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E141-E146
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics Part B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Pediatric fractures of the tibia
  • Proximal tibia fractures
  • Tibial tubercle fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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