The impacts of internal versus external fixation for tibial fractures with simultaneous acute compartment syndrome
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High-energy tibial fractures may cause compartment syndrome, which needs fasciotomy. However, in this procedure, close fractures become an open wound and choosing the best type of fixation for this situation has been a problem. We assumed early open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) instead of late internal fixation or external fixation, or stage-based approach is a better method.
We collected fifty-seven medical records from 2012 to 2017 stored in Alzahra and Kashani University Hospital databases. We selected important information of their medical files, called the submitted phone numbers, and asked them to come to our clinic and examined their leg for any malunion and/or movement restriction postoperatively. We asked about pain and paresthesia in their leg. Twelve cases were excluded.
Demographic variables were not significantly different between these two groups. Deep infection, malunion, decreased range of motion in both knee and ankle joints, pain and paresthesia mainly occurred in external fixation group, except malunion (p value = 0.032), other variables were not statistically significant between two groups. More surgeries were performed predominantly for external fixation group (p value < 0.001). External fixation stayed 4.7 days longer at hospital although it was not statistically significant (p value = 0.108).
It is better to perform fasciotomy and ORIF simultaneously in one surgery to lower the number of surgeries, days of hospitalization, decrease the risk of deep infection, malunion and movement restriction although its postoperative outcomes were not considerably different from external fixation. We indicate that stage-based approach is accompanied by poor outcomes and lesser satisfaction.
KeywordsCompartment syndrome Tibial fractures Fracture fixation Internal fracture fixation Postoperative complications Fasciotomy
We appreciate Dr. Mohammad Ali Tahririan, Mr. Amir Salar Moazen Safaei and Dr. Mohammad Marasi for their kind support throughout this research and proofreading the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no potential conflict of interests.
This study started after receiving its ethical approval from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, department of medical ethics in research with registered inquiry of IR.MUI.REC.1395.1.066.
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