The morphological features of different Schatzker types of tibial plateau fractures: A three-dimensional computed tomography study

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BACKGROUND Tibial plateau fractures are of great challenge to treat with open reduction and internal fixation, because fractures vary from simple to complex, with little or extensive articular involvement. Hence, recognition and comprehension of the fracture features will help orthopedic surgeons understand the injury mechanism better and manage these fractures by planning optimal surgical procedures. This study aimed to evaluate the morphological characteristics of tibial plateau fractures based on the Schatzker classification. METHODS A total of 186 patients with 188 tibial plateau fractures from 2010 to 2014 in our hospital were reviewed using a computed tomography scan and three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction. The main fracture line angles (FLA) of Schatzker types I, II, and IV were measured. For each fracture, depression depth was measured, and the depression zone was also located. Depression zones were overlapped to obtain a frequency diagram. RESULTS Schatzker type I and II fractures had three subtypes: single anterolateral fracture, single posterolateral fracture, and complex fracture (the anterolateral and posterolateral parts). Schatzker type IV fractures were also divided into three subtypes: single posteromedial fracture, single anteromedial fracture, and the whole medial fracture. For various Schatzker types and subtypes of fracture, fracture depression clustered and occurred at different locations of the tibial plateau. A significant difference was observed in the depression depth among the different Schatzker types (P < 0.01, Kruskal-Wallis test), especially between Schatzker type III and other types (Nemenyi test). There was no difference in the depression depth among the subtypes of Schatzker type II, whereas the difference was significant between the two subtypes of Schatzker type IV. CONCLUSIONS Schatzker type I, II, and IV fractures could be divided into three corresponding subtypes by FLA. Various Schatzker types of fractures differed in location and depth of depression. A proper operative approach should be made based on the morphological characteristics of individual types of tibial plateau fractures.




Chen, P., Shen, H., Wang, W., Ni, B., Fan, Z., & Lu, H. (2016). The morphological features of different Schatzker types of tibial plateau fractures: A three-dimensional computed tomography study. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 11(1).

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