Articular fracture malreduction increases posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) risk by elevating joint contact stress. A new biomechanical guidance system (BGS) that provides intraoperative assessment of articular fracture reduction and joint contact stress based solely on a preoperative computed tomography (CT) and intraoperative fluoroscopy may facilitate better fracture reduction. The objective of this proof-of-concept cadaveric study was to test this premise while characterizing BGS performance. Articular tibia plafond fractures were created in five cadaveric ankles. CT scans were obtained to provide digital models. Indirect reduction was performed in a simulated operating room once with and once without BGS guidance. CT scans after fixation provided models of the reduced ankles for assessing reduction accuracy, joint contact stresses, and BGS accuracy. BGS was utilized 4.8 ± 1.3 (mean ± SD) times per procedure, increasing operative time by 10 min (39%), and the number of fluoroscopy images by 31 (17%). Errors in BGS reduction assessment compared to CT-derived models were 0.45 ± 0.57 mm in translation and 2.0 ± 2.5° in rotation. For the four ankles that were successfully reduced and fixed, associated absolute errors in computed mean and maximum contact stress were 0.40 ± 0.40 and 0.96 ± 1.12 MPa, respectively. BGS reduced mean and maximum contact stress by 1.1 and 2.6 MPa, respectively. BGS thus improved the accuracy of articular fracture reduction and significantly reduced contact stress. Statement of Clinical Significance: Malreduction of articular fractures is known to lead to PTOA. The BGS described in this work has potential to improve quality of articular fracture reduction and clinical outcomes for patients with a tibia plafond fracture.
biomechanical guidance; computer-assisted surgery; intra-articular fracture; post-traumatic osteoarthritis