Comparison of tibial plateau fracture surgical outcomes between young and elderly patients: are outcomes really poorer in the elderly?

Joon Kuk Kim, Kyu Tae Hwang, Hyun Soo Soh, Oog Jin Shon, Ki Chul Park

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Introduction: Several studies have reported that total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a suitable solution to treat elderly patients with complex tibial plateau fractures. The purpose of the present study was to compare surgical treatment outcomes after open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) between elderly and younger patients. Materials and methods: We reviewed patients with plateau fracture (OTA/AO classification types 41B and 41C) who underwent ORIF at two academic trauma centers between November 2006 and October 2019. Of the 341 patients, 76 were ultimately included in the younger group (< 60 years old) and 77 in the elderly group (≥ 60 years). The average follow-up was 24 months (range 12–96 months). The primary outcome was any common complication of plateau fracture, namely post-traumatic arthritis and alignment change. Conversion to TKA, Reduction loss, coronal malalignment, non-union, union time, infection, and limb length discrepancy (LLD) were also assessed. Results: The elderly group had a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes, but there were no other significant differences between the groups in terms of patient demographics, fracture characteristics, and operation characteristics. We detected no differences between the groups in terms of post-traumatic arthritis (p = 0.216), alignment change (p = 0.093), conversion to TKA (p = 0.681), reduction loss (p = 0.079), coronal malalignment (p = 0.484), non-union rate (p = 0.719), infection (p = 0.063), LLD (p = 0.154), or time to union (p = 0.513). Logistic regression analysis revealed that age > 60 years was not associated with treatment failure, defined as either post-traumatic arthritis greater than grade II or non-union (p = 0.468). OTA/AO classification type 41C2 (p = 0.019), type 41C3 (p = 0.008), and malreduction (p = 0.050) were significant risk factors for failure. Conclusion: Age ≥ 60 years is not an independent risk factor of poor radiographic outcome and high complication rate in tibial plateau fractures. This indicates that ORIF is still a good solution to treat elderly patients, similar to their younger counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Alignment
  • ORIF
  • Plateau fracture
  • Post-traumatic arthritis


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