Twenty-one patients with unstable medial malleolar, bimalleolar, or trimalleolar ankle fractures underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the medial malleolus with 4.5-mm polyglycolide screws. All lateral malleolar fractures were internally fixed with standard metallic implants. Radiographic and clinical follow-up results were available on 16 of 21 patients. All fractures healed at an average of 3.4 months (range, 3-6 months), and there were no medial wound infections. Eight of 16 patients developed an inflammatory reaction to the biodegradable polyester at 3 to 4 months after implantation, including one who developed a sterile draining sinus tract. No surgical or nonsurgical treatment was required in those eight patients. We conclude that whereas polyester screws yield union rates and functional results similar to those of metallic screws in the treatment of medial malleolar fractures, the use of polyglycolide screws is associated with an unacceptable rate of inflammatory reactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine