A comparative study of three commonly used fixation techniques for isolated medial malleolus fracture
Alauddin Kochai1, Mehmet Türker1, Özgür Çiçekli1, Uğur Özdemir1, Levent Bayram1, Ünal Erkorkmaz2, Erhan Şükür1
1Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Sakarya University Training and Research Hospital, Sakarya, Turkey
2Department of Biostatistics, Sakarya University Faculty of Medicine, Sakarya, Turkey
Keywords: Ankle fracture; body mass index; headless cannulated compression screws; medial malleolus fracture; partially threaded cannulated compression screws; tension band wiring.
Objectives: This study aims to compare the three most commonly used fixation techniques: tension-band wire fixation, partially threaded cannulated screws, and fully threaded cannulated headless compression screws.
Patients and methods: Ninety patients with medial malleolus fractures were included in the study. Patients were divided into three groups. Group A included patients who underwent tension-band wire fixation (n=26), Group B partially threaded cannulated compression screws (n=32), and Group C fully threaded cannulated headless compression screws (n=32). The type of medial malleolus fracture, healing rates, implant-related complications, rate of infection, hardware removal, weight-bearing restrictions, mean interval time from the injury to the surgery, and Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) were investigated. The patients’ radiographs (standard anteroposterior, lateral, and mortise) were reviewed. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scoring system was used for clinical evaluation.
Results: No significant difference was observed between the three groups in terms of age, gender, BMI, follow-up period, and fracture type. Union rate for group C was significantly shorter than groups A and B. There was no implant failure or irritation in group C and this was statistically significant comparing to group A and B (p=0.037). However, there was no significant difference between group A and B (p=0.41). There were no significant differences in the three groups according to AOFAS. Patients with low BMI in groups A and B had a high rate of implant-related complications. There was a significant correlation between low BMI and implant-related complication (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Union rate in the group who were operated with fully threaded cannulated headless compression screws was significantly shorter than the other groups. This study has shown that tension band wiring and partially threaded cannulated compression screws can cause irritation of soft tissues and pain over the hardware implantation site. Patients with low BMI are vulnerable for implant-related complications.