Are locking plates better than non-locking plates for treating distal tibial fractures?

Christian Bastias, Hugo Henríquez, Manuel Pellegrini, Stefan Rammelt, Natalio Cuchacovich, Leonardo Lagos*, Giovanni Carcuro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Locking and non-locking plates has been used for distal tibia fracture osteosynthesis. Sufficient evidence to favor one implant over the other is lacking in the current literature. Our aim is to compare them in terms of fracture healing, alignment, functional outcome, complications. Methods: Sixty-eight patients operated on using a percutaneous plate were retrospectively reviewed. They were divided into two groups: in group 1 (28 patients) a 4.5. mm narrow conventional dynamic compression plate (DCP) was used. In group 2 (40 patients) a titanium locked compression plate (LCP) was used. Results: Mean time to union was 16.2 and 15.4 weeks for group 1 and 2, respectively (p= 0.618). 11 patients (39.3%) in group 1 and 4 patients (10%) in group 2 showed malalignment (p= 0.016). AOFAS scores at follow up were 89 and 88 in groups 1 and 2, respectively. Implant removal was necessary in 9 cases (32.1%) and 4 cases (10%) in group 1 and group 2, respectively (p= 0.042). Three patients (10.7%) in group 1 and three patients (7.5%) in group 2 had an infection. Conclusions: Both plating systems have similar results in terms of time to union, infection, and AOFAS scores. The LCP seems superior with respect to alignment and the need for implant removal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalFoot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Distal tibia
  • Fracture
  • Locking plate
  • Mal union
  • Minimally invasive


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