A Comparison of the Open Semi-extended Parapatellar Versus Standard Entry Tibial Nailing Techniques and Knee Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma





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Objective: To determine if an open, semi-extended, parapatellar tibial nailing technique (SEK) imparts any undue knee symptoms/pain compared with the traditional infrapatellar tibial nailing technique (FK). Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Level 1 trauma center. Patients: Forty-seven patients with OTA/AO 42A-C tibial shaft fractures were included in the study. Intervention: Patients were randomized to treatment with either a SEK or an FK technique. Main Outcome: The main outcome was a symptoms subset of the International Knee Documentation Committee (SS-IKDC) pertaining to knee symptoms/pain. Results: Final follow-up was collected at 1 year for 24 SEK and 23 FK patients. No significant differences were found between the groups in regards to demographics, injury, or surgery-related variables. The 2 techniques did have equivalent symptoms scores [mean for the difference (SEK − FK): 0.29, 90% confidence interval: −4.16 to 4.75] but did not have equivalent pain scores [mean for the difference (SEK − FK): 0.2, 90% confidence interval: −3.18 to 3.59]. When comparing demographic and injury-related variables to the SS-IKDC, only Kellgren–Lawrence classification was statistically significant (P = 0.026), where increasing presence of osteoarthritis was associated with lower scores. Conclusions: The results of this single-center randomized controlled trial show that SEK and FK techniques for tibial nailing are equivalent in regards to knee symptoms (defined as ±5 points on the SS-IKDC) but not specifically pain that showed trends toward decreasing knee pain with the open SEK technique. This randomized controlled trial demonstrates that the use of the open semi-extended, parapatellar technique for tibial nailing should not be associated with any higher likelihood of knee pain/symptoms than the traditional flexed knee, infrapatellar technique. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.





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