Circular External Fixator Assisted Open Reduction Combined With Locking Plate Fixation for Intra-articular Comminuted Fractures of the Calcaneus

Published:November 02, 2022DOI:


      Comminuted fractures of the calcaneus are relatively common and generally require surgical treatment. The quality of fracture reduction is crucial. The extended lateral approach (ELA) can better expose the fracture end and facilitate the reduction of the fracture, while it has a higher risk of postoperative skin complications. In this study, the ELA was adopted, and the calcaneal comminuted fractures were treated with circular external fixator assisted reduction to achieve the purpose of good reduction of the fracture and fewer skin complications. During 64 months, a total of 61 cases of unilateral calcaneal fractures were treated by the same surgeon and followed up for 19.28 ± 5.28 months. During the operation, a circular external fixator was employed to fix the midfoot and the distal end of the tibia, and the calcaneal tubercle; then, the calcaneal tubercle was distracted to restore the 3-dimensional structure of the calcaneus. The ELA was utilized to reduce the articular surface fracture. The fracture was fixated with a locking plate. Postoperative radiographs were regularly reviewed. Meanwhile, Böhler's angle and Gissane's angle were measured. Visual analogue scale and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society Score assessments were performed at the final follow-up. All fractures healed. The mean preoperative Böhler's angle was 9.3 ± 10.1 degrees; the mean Gissane's angle was 110.5 ± 14.7 degrees; the immediate postoperative mean Böhler's angle was 31.3 ± 5.5 degrees; mean Gissane's angle was 110.9 ± 5.9 degrees. Local superficial necrosis of surgical incision occurred in 2 cases, which healed well after dressing changes. Skin necrosis appeared in 1 case, where debridement and local flap transfer were performed. At the final follow-up, the mean visual analogue scale score was 1.48 ± 1.30, and the mean American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society Score was 90.16 ± 7.19. The ELA combined with a circular external fixator to assist in the reduction of calcaneal fractures achieved good reduction quality and effectively reduced postoperative complications.


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