Lateral malleolus closed reduction and internal fixation with intramedullary fibular rod using minimal invasive approach for the treatment of ankle fractures

Oded Coifman, Jason T. Bariteau, Nachshon Shazar, Shay A. Tenenbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ankle fractures are extremely common and represent nearly one quarter of all lower-limb fractures. Techniques for fixation of displaced fractures of the lateral malleolus have remained essentially unchanged in recent decades. The current gold standard of treating unstable fractures is with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), using plates and screws construct. This study evaluates the use of fibula intramedullary nailing based on minimal invasive surgical approach. Methods: Thirty-nine cases treated with fibula intramedullary nailing between the years 2014–2016 were retrospectively studied. A fibular nail was utilized for the treatment of various ankle fractures either as the sole method of fixation or combined with another method. Patient charts were reviewed for fracture patterns, comorbidities, quality of reduction, complications and additional surgeries. Results: Out of 39 cases in the study cohort, 37 were closed fractures while 2 had an associated medial malleolus open injury. According to Weber classification of lateral malleolus fractures, 20 cases were type B, 18 cases type C, and one case of a pathologic fracture type B like fracture. Quality of reduction was based on previously published criteria. It was determined to be good in 32 cases, fair in 5 cases and poor in 2 cases that were revised intraoperatively to plate fixation. Overall no systemic complications occurred. Eight patients have undergone additional surgeries, namely hardware removals. In two cases, the nail was later revised to a different fixation method: one case to a plate, due to secondary displacement at 2 weeks, and one to an intramedullary tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis secondary to hardware failure and Charcot neuroarthropathy. Conclusion: Intramedullary fibular nail offers a satisfactory and safe procedure to establish good reduction and fixation of lateral malleoli fractures. It may be considered as treatment of choice for patients with soft tissue problems due to its minimal invasive approach. The current study shows that while good fracture reduction can be achieved, without major complications, more than fifth of patients, required secondary procedures, mainly hardware removals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalFoot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Ankle
  • Fibular
  • Fracture
  • Intramedullary
  • Nail
  • Rod


Dive into the research topics of 'Lateral malleolus closed reduction and internal fixation with intramedullary fibular rod using minimal invasive approach for the treatment of ankle fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this