Last updated on August 2019

Comparative Evaluation of Minimally Invasive "Tibial Tuberoplasty" Surgical Technique Versus Conventional Open Surgery for Tibial Plateau Fractures


Brief description of study

PMSI (French Medico-Administrative Database) data shows more than 10000 proximal tibial fractures diagnosed in 2014 and 4055 lateral tibial plateau fractures operated in 2013 in France. 50% of these surgical fractures is related to the lateral condyle and causes split/depression (Schatzker 2) or pure depression (Schatzker 3). This high rate results from the recent democratization of high-risk sports, as well as an aging population with increased risks of falling. Aside from the resulting reduced physical activity, the social and professional impact of these fractures is undeniable and represents significant costs for our health care system. A recently published prospective case series reports 28 job losses out of 41 patients treated.

The clinical outcome of these patients depends mainly on the primary stability provided by the surgical treatment, after the greatest anatomical reduction possible. Indeed, Giannoudis and al. have demonstrated that under simple X-rays, the smaller the detected step-off, the better the outcome.The aim is to allow for recovery of good joint mobility to promote rapid resumption of activity and to limit the onset of early osteoarthritis.

The classical technique used for reduction and osteosynthesis of tibial plateau fractures (open surgical technique using a bone tamp) has several pitfalls : devascularization of the bone and skin, risks of infection and functional rehabilitation difficulties with delayed recovery of weight bearing. Moreover, this technique does not allow for the simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of other possible lesions, such as meniscal injuries in particular.

Since 2011, Poitiers University Hospital is offering to its patients a new minimally invasive technique for the reduction and stabilization of tibial plateau fractures, baptized "Tibial Tuberoplasty". The concept derives from the divergent use of vertebral kyphoplasty, initially dedicated for spinal injuries and transposed here to the tibial plateau. This technique involves expansion of the tibial plateau through inflation of a kyphoplasty balloon, filling of the created cavity with cement (PMMA, calcium phosphate) and percutaneous screw fixation.

Orthopaedic surgeons of Poitiers University Hospital performed the first tibial tuberoplasties through a feasibility study on 36 cadaveric subjects and then transposed the technique to human. Surgeons identified major advantages such as minimal skin damage, possible treatment of posterior and multi-fragmented compressions (lifting in a single block by the balloon), reinforcement of the stability of the assembly using cement, possible use of combined arthroscopy (for concomitant meniscal injuries treatment).

This technique allows for optimization of the fracture reduction by elevating the posterior fragments with the inflatable bone tamp through an anterior approach. The reduction is made possible thanks to the specificity of the inflatable bone tamp which inflates and reduces the area of least resistance.

The aim of this innovative technique is focused on the anatomical reduction in order to restore the convexity of the tibial plateau which is similar to the balloon convexity.

The results from the first 40 patients operated since 2011 are promising and show a proportion of 70% presenting less than 5 mm step-off reduction. A larger scale multicenter randomized controlled trial is now requested to further demonstrate the superiority of the "Tibial Tuberoplasty" to the standard treatment.

The coordinator investigator designed this study to evaluate the quality of tibial fracture reduction offered by percutaneous "Tibial Tuberoplasty" versus conventional open surgery for tibial plateau fracture but also its impact on clinical outcome.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03444779

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