Management of Extra-articular Fractures of the Distal Tibia: Intramedullary Nailing Versus Plate Fixation

J Am Acad Orthop Surg November 2012 ; 20 Chris Casstevens Abstract

Intramedullary nailing and plate fixation represent two viable approaches to internal fixation of extra-articular fractures of the distal tibia. Although both techniques have demonstrated success in maintaining reduction and promoting stable union, they possess distinct advantages and disadvantages that require careful consideration during surgical planning. Differences in soft-tissue health and construct stability must be considered when choosing between intramedullary nailing and plating of the distal tibia. Recent advances in intramedullary nail design and plate-and-screw fixation systems have further increased the options for management of these fractures. Current evidence supports careful consideration of the risk of soft-tissue complications, residual knee pain, and fracture malalignment in the context of patient and injury characteristics in the selection of the optimal method of fixation.

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