A Multicenter Comparison of Open Versus Arthroscopic Fixation for Pediatric Tibial Spine Fractures

Jilan L. Shimberg, Tomasina M. Leska, Aristides I. Cruz, Neeraj M. Patel, Henry B. Ellis, Theodore J. Ganley, Ben Johnson, Todd A. Milbrandt, Yi Meng Yen, R. Justin Mistovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: When operative treatment is indicated, tibial spine fractures can be successfully managed with open or arthroscopic reduction and internal fixation (ARIF). The purpose of the study is to evaluate short-term treatment outcomes of tibial spine fractures in patients treated with both open and arthroscopic fracture reduction. Methods: We performed an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved retrospective cohort study of pediatric tibial spine fractures presenting between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2019 at 10 institutions. Patients were categorized into 2 cohorts based on treatment: ARIF and open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Short-term surgical outcomes, the incidence of concomitant injuries, and surgeon demographics were compared between groups. Results: There were 477 patients with tibial spine fractures who met inclusion criteria, 420 of whom (88.1%) were treated with ARIF, while 57 (11.9%) were treated with ORIF. Average follow-up was 1.12 years. Patients treated with ARIF were more likely to have an identified concomitant injury (41.4%) compared with those treated with ORIF (24.6%, P=0.021). Most concomitant injuries (74.5%) were treated with intervention. The most common treatment complications included arthrofibrosis (6.9% in ARIF patients, 7.0% in ORIF patients, P=1.00) and subsequent anterior cruciate ligament injury (2.1% in ARIF patients and 3.5% in ORIF, P=0.86). The rate of short-term complications, return to the operating room, and failure to return to full range of motion were similar between treatment groups. Twenty surgeons with sports subspecialty training completed 85.0% of ARIF cases; the remaining 15.0% were performed by 12 surgeons without additional sports training. The majority (56.1%) of ORIF cases were completed by 14 surgeons without sports subspecialty training. Conclusion: This study demonstrated no difference in outcomes or nonunion following ARIF or ORIF, with a significantly higher rate of concomitant injuries identified in patients treated with ARIF. The majority of identified concomitant injuries were treated with surgical intervention. Extensive surgical evaluation or pretreatment magnetic resonance imaging should be considered in the workup of tibial spine fractures to increase concomitant injury identification. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • pediatric knee
  • tibial eminence fracture
  • tibial spine fracture
  • treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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