Is the AO guideline for postoperative treatment of tibial plateau fractures still decisive? A survey among orthopaedic surgeons and trauma surgeons in the Netherlands

M. van der Vusse, P. H. S. Kalmet*, C. H. G. Bastiaenen, Y. Y. van Horn, P. R. G. Brink, H. A. M. Seelen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction The standard aftercare treatment (according to the AO guideline) for surgically treated trauma patients with fractures of the tibial plateau is non-weight bearing or partial weight bearing for 10-12 weeks. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current state of practice among orthopaedic surgeons and trauma surgeons in choosing the criteria and the time period of restricted weight bearing after surgically treated tibial plateau fractures.

Materials and methods A web-based survey was distributed among members of the Dutch Trauma Society and Dutch Orthopaedic Society to identify the most commonly applied protocols in terms of the post-operative initiation and level of weight bearing in patients with tibial plateau fractures.

Results One hundred and eleven surgeons responded to the survey. 72.1% of the respondents recommended starting weight bearing earlier than the 12 weeks recommended by the AO guideline; 11.7% recommended starting weight bearing immediately, 4.5% after 2 weeks and 55.9% after 6 weeks. Moreover, 88.7% of the respondents reported deviating from their own local protocol. There is little consensus about the definition of 100% weight bearing and how to build up weight bearing over time.

Conclusion This study demonstrates that consensus about the weight bearing aftercare for tibial plateau fractures are limited. A large majority of surgeons do not follow the AO guideline or their own local protocol. More transparent criteria and predictors are needed to design optimal weight-bearing regimes for the aftercare of tibial plateau fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1075
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Tibial plateau fractures
  • Trauma patients
  • Postoperative treatment
  • Rehabilitation
  • Weight bearing

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