Posterior pilon fracture: Epidemiology and surgical technique

Felipe Chaparro*, Ximena Ahumada, Christian Urbina, Leonardo Lagos, Fernando Vargas, Manuel Pellegrini, Maximiliano Barahona, Christian Bastias

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: To review a case series of patients with posterior pilon variant fracture using a novel approach, focusing on demographic data, injury pattern, surgical results based on computed tomography (CT) scan, and short-term complications. Design: Consecutive case series. Setting: Level I trauma center. Patients/participants: Twenty-five patients with posterior pilon fracture. Intervention: Posterior pilon fracture open reduction and internal fixation. Main Outcome Measurements: Parameters measured included age, sex, type of fracture, surgical technique, anatomical reduction, and complications. Results: Twenty-five patients sustained a posterior pilon fracture, accounting for 13.4% of all operatively treated ankle fractures with median follow-up of 21.7 months. The average age of patients was 42 years (22–62); 19/25 (76%) were female, and 6/25 (24%) were male. A modified posteromedial approach was used in 18/25 (72%) patients. Persistent syndesmotic instability was present in 11/25 (44%) patients after posterior malleolar stabilization. Quality of reduction was assessed under CT scan in 19 patients, with 15/19 (78.9%) having anatomic reduction. We report 2/25 (8%) patients with early wound problems and 7/25 (20%) with short-term complications during follow-up. Conclusion: Posterior pilon variant fracture appears to be less common than previously reported. Most fractures can be satisfactorily treated through a modified posteromedial approach. Albeit obtaining posterior malleolar fracture rigid fixation, syndesmotic instability was more prevalent than expected. The short-term complication rate was low. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic level IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2312-2317
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Ankle fracture
  • Fibular fracture
  • Posterior malleolar fracture
  • Posterior pilon fracture
  • Posteromedial approach
  • Syndesmotic injury


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