Purpose Determine the frequency of compartment syndrome of the leg after displaced, operatively treated modified Ogden I to III tibial tubercle fractures (TTFxs), evaluate the preoperative assessment and use of advanced imaging, and need for prophylactic fasciotomies. Methods Retrospective analysis of operatively treated, displaced modified Ogden I to III TTFxs, at our level 1 paediatric trauma centre between 2007 and 2019. Modified Ogden Type IV and V fracture patterns were excluded. Fracture patterns were determined by plain radiographs. Results There were 49 modified Ogden I to III TTFxs in 48 patients. None had signs nor symptoms of vascular compromise, compartment syndromes or impending compartment syndromes preoperatively. In all, 13 of the 49 fractures underwent anterior compartment fasciotomy at surgery; eight of the 13 had traumatic fascial disruptions, which were extended surgically. All incisions were primarily closed. There were no instances of postoperative compartment syndromes, growth arrest, leg-length discrepancy or recurvatum deformity postoperatively. All patients achieved radiographic union and achieved full range of movement. Conclusion The potentially devastating complications of compartment syndrome or vascular compromise following TTFx did not occur in this consecutive series of patients over 12 years. The presence of an intact posterior proximal tibial physis and posterior metaphyseal cortex (Modified Ogden TTFx Type I to III) may mitigate the occurrence of vascular injury and compartment syndrome. Plain radiographs appear appropriate as the primary method of imaging TTFxs, with use of advanced imaging as the clinical scenario dictates. Routine, prophylactic fasciotomies do not appear necessary in Ogden I to III TTFxs, but should be performed for signs and symptoms of compartment syndrome.
- Compartment syndrome
- Tibial tubercle fractures