Tibial Plateau Fractures: A New Rank Ordering Method For Determining To What Degree Injury Severity Or Quality Of Reduction Correlate With Clinical Outcome

Katie Freeman, Jared L. Michalson, Donald D. Anderson, Thomas D. Brown, Thomas A. DeCoster, Douglas R. Dirschl, Matthew D. Karam, J. Lawrence Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Injury severity may be the most important factor in determining outcome after articular fractures, but there is a surprising paucity of clinical evidence to support this assertion. The purpose of this study was to utilize a new method for rank ordering a group of patient radiographs to assess the effect of injury severity and quality of reduction on patient outcomes after tibial plateau fractures.

METHODS: Tibial plateau fractures in 64 patients were treated operatively or non-operatively based on physician preference from standard of care techniques. Fracture severity and reduction quality were stratified from radiographs by four expert clinicians using an iTunes-based rank ordering methodology. The images were distributed electronically, and the ranks were performed on local computers at three different institutions. Clinical outcomes were measured with the SF-12 health questionnaire and the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).

RESULTS: There was excellent or very good agreement between raters for injury severity ranking (correlation 0.77-0.91) and quality of reduction (correlation 0.66-0.82). There was no correlation between the injury severity nor quality of reduction and general or joint-specific clinical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Expert orthopaedic traumatologists strongly agree on how to rank order tibial plateau fractures based both on injury severity and quality of reduction. The novel electronic interface utilized allows an ever-expanding series of cases to be ranked quickly, conveniently, and across multiple centers. This interface holds great promise for establishing prospective, continuously expanding rank orders of various fracture types, which may have great value for clinical research, education about fracture severity, and for prognosis and treatment decisions. In the present study, neither injury severity nor quality of reduction correlated with the clinical outcomes. Other patient- and injury-related factors may be more important in determining clinical outcome of tibial plateau fractures than the appearances of the radiographs at the time of injury or after reduction. Level of Evidence: level III evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalThe Iowa orthopaedic journal
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • rank order
  • tibial plateau fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Tibial Plateau Fractures: A New Rank Ordering Method For Determining To What Degree Injury Severity Or Quality Of Reduction Correlate With Clinical Outcome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this