Triplane Distal Tibia Fractures

  • Daniel KomlosEmail author
  • Mara Karamitopoulos
Living reference work entry


Pediatric triplane fractures of the distal tibia typically occur in the early teenage years, peaking around 13-14yrs old and account for about 4-15% of pediatric ankle fractures. are transitional physeal fractures, with asymmetric closure of the distal tibial physis leading to a three-dimensional fracture pattern of an overall Salter-Harris IV fracture that may be 2, 3 or 4 part fractures. Plain radiographs often underestimate the true displacement of fracture fragments, therefore a computed tomography (CT) scan is needed for further evaluation due to the complexity of the fracture. Displacement of >2 mm at the epiphysis generally requires operative management to reestablish articular congruency at the distal tibia and minimize the risks of degenerative changes and early physeal closure. Fixation typically involves lag screws to reduce fragments and can be performed open or percutaneously. Patients are then casted for 4-6 weeks following fixation before beginning progressive weight bearing.

References and Suggested Reading

  1. Cooperman DR, Spiegel PG, Laros GS (1978) Tibial fractures involving the ankle in children: the so-called triplane epiphyseal fracture. J Bone Joint Surg Am 60(8):1040–1046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Ertl JP, Barrack RL, Alexander AH et al (1988) Triplane fracture of the distal tibial epiphysis long-term follow-up. J Bone Joint Surg Am 70A(7):967–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kling TF Jr (1990) Operative treatment of ankle fractures in children. Orthop Clin North 21:381–392Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • L. Reid Nichols
    • 1
  1. 1.Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for ChildrenWilmingtonUSA

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