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Fibular nails for open and closed ankle fractures: Results from a non-designer level I major trauma centre.

  • Al-Obaidi, Bilal1
  • Wiik, Anatole Vilhelm1
  • Bhattacharyya, Rahul1
  • Mushtaq, Nadeem1
  • Bhattacharya, Rajarshi1
  • 1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Division of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, North West London Major Trauma Centre, London, UK.
Published Article
Journal of orthopaedic surgery (Hong Kong)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1177/2309499019832420
PMID: 30803314


To evaluate the outcome of a fibular nail in the treatment of open and closed unstable ankle fractures in a non-designer centre. In a retrospective cohort study, a total of 39 ankle fractures (14 open and 25 closed) treated with a locking fibular nail were evaluated between 2012 and 2015 in a non-designer level I major trauma centre. Post-operative radiographs were analysed to assess the quality of reduction (McLennan and Ungersma marking system), fracture union and complications. Three patient reported outcome scores (Olerud and Molander score (OMAS), American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) foot and ankle score and 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12)) were collected to obtain an overall measure of the patient's physical and mental outcome. The adequacy of reduction data was available for 38 of 39 cases; 33 (87%) achieved good, 3 (8%) fair and 2 (5%) poor ratings, based on the McLennan and Ungersma marking system. Thirty-five (12 open and 23 closed) patients were available for initial follow-up. Five (14.3%) of 35 had documented complications (2 of 12 in the open cohort and 3 of 23 in the closed cohort). All fibular fractures treated with the fibular nail went on to unite. Twenty-three (66%) of 35 patients were available at 1-year follow-up for measurement of objective outcome. The combined mean OMAS for both groups was 53.7 (0-85) with statistically better results (59.5 (25-85) vs. 37.3 (0-75)) in favour of the closed versus open injuries, respectively. The mean AAOS score was also statistically better for the closed group than the open, 70.3 (30-95) versus 46.6 (20-77), respectively. The mean SF-12 score (physical component) was 40 (21.6-52.4) in the closed group versus 36.1 (19.4-51.5) in the open group; the mean mental component was 42.5 (26.6-54.3) in the closed group versus 38.8 (28.4-60.5) in the open group, these however were not statistically different. Fibular nails are an effective alternative for the treatment for both closed and open unstable ankle fractures with soft tissue compromise.

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