Effectiveness of circular external fixator in periprosthetic fractures around the knee. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 21, 317 (2020).

Effectiveness of circular external fixator in periprosthetic fractures around the knee

Nozaka, K., Miyakoshi, N., Hongo, M. et al.
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist

Background

The incidence of periprosthetic fractures after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is rising due to an increasing number of TJAs performed annually and the growing elderly population. In many elderly patients with periprosthetic fractures, the bone strength is lowered due to the deterioration of bone quality and a decrease in bone quantity; rigid fixation of the fracture is difficult. It is a challenging operation for orthopedic surgeons. The usefulness of circular external fixation for periprosthetic fractures has been reported in several case studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of union and complications associated with circular external fixation in periprosthetic fractures around the knee.

Methods

We included 19 patients with periprosthetic femur and tibial fractures who underwent osteosynthesis using a circular external fixator and had at least 2 years of follow-up. All patients had comorbidities and high risks associated with anesthesia. Tourniquets were not used in any of the patients. There were no cases in which the skin incision was placed, and the closed reduction technique was used in all cases.

Results

A 100% union rate was achieved with no serious complications. All fractures healed after a mean time of 14.3 ± 5.2 weeks (range, 8–38 weeks). The walking ability was the same level as before the injury in 13 cases.

Discussion

There are many comorbidities associated with periprosthetic fractures in elderly patients. Double-plate or revision surgery were largely invasive and had high risks associated with anesthesia. Circular external fixation is a feasible and effective treatment option because it provides stable fixation, prompt postoperative mobilization, and has no major complications, especially in elderly patients who are treated for periprosthetic fractures.

Conclusion

Circular external fixation is a safe and reliable method for periprosthetic fractures around the knee in elderly patients.

Level of evidence

Level IV, retrospective case series.


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