Updated: 3/26/2014

Tibia Posterolateral Approach

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https://upload.orthobullets.com/topic/12035/images/cross-section-just-above-middle-of-leg-12.jpg
Introduction
  • Exposure to
    • middle two thirds of the tibia
    • entire fibula
    • use when anterior and anterior medial approach limited by skin issues
  • Indications
    • ORIF of tibia fractures
    • bone grafting for nonunion or delayed union
    • implantation of electrical stimulators
    • excision or biopsy of bone lesions
    • osteotomy
    • fibula resection for fibula transfer


Plane
  • Internervous plan between  
    • tibial nerve (posterior compartment)
      • gastrocnemius 
      • soleus 
      • FHL 
    • superficial peroneal nerve (lateral compartment)
      • peroneus bevis 
      • peroneus longus 
Preparation
  • Anesthesia
    • options include
      • general
      • spinal
      • peripheral nerve block
  • Position
    • prone or in lateral position
  • Tourniquet
    • exsanguinate limb using elevation or Esmarch
Approach
  • Incision
    • longitudinal incision on lateral border of the gastrocnemius
      • make of desired length
  • Superficial dissection
    • reflect skin flaps
      • take care not to damage the short saphenous vein
    • incise fascia
      • incise in line with the incision
    • develop intermuscular plane
      • develop plan between the gastrocnemius and soleus (posterior group) and peroneal muscles (lateral group)
      • muscular branches of peroneal artery lie with peroneus brevis proximally and may need to ligated
    • retract the soleus and gastrocnemius posteromedially
      • once done identify the origin of FHL and soleus on the posterior border of the fibula
  • Deep dissection
    • detach the FHL and soleus
      • detach from the posterior border of the fibula and retract posteromedially
      • may expose entire length of fibula)
    • detach posterior tibialis
      • remove off the posterior surface of the interosseous membrane
      • the posterior tibial artery and nerve will be posterior to posterior tibialis and FHL
    • follow IOM to tibia
      • follow the posterior surface of the interosseous membrane to the lateral border of the tibia
    • release posterior tibialis and FDL of tibia
      • dissect the posterior tibialis and flexor digitorum longus off the posterior surface of the tibia to expose the desired segment of tibia 
  • Extensile measure
    • proximal 
      • cannot be extended into the proximal fourth of the tibia
        • popliteus muscle, posterior tibial artery, and tibial nerve preclude proximal dissection
    • distal 
      • may be extended distally to become continuous with the posterior approach to the ankle
  • Closure
    • loosely close the deep fascia on the lateral side of the leg
      • use interrupted sutures
Structures at Risk
  • Short saphenous vein
  • Peroneal artery and branches
    • avoid injury by staying on the posterior surface of the interosseous membrane
    • branches may be ligated and coagulated
  • Posterior tibial artery and nerve 
    • avoid injury by staying on the posterior surface of the interosseous membrane
 

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Questions (2)

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(OBQ08.201) What is the internervous plane for the posterolateral approach to the tibial shaft? Review Topic

QID: 587
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1

sural and superficial peroneal nerves

11%

(157/1411)

2

saphenous and tibial nerves

1%

(20/1411)

3

sural and saphenous nerves

2%

(28/1411)

4

tibial and superficial peroneal nerves

79%

(1118/1411)

5

superficial and deep peroneal nerves

5%

(72/1411)

L 1

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SUBMIT RESPONSE 4

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(OBQ05.102) What two muscles lie on the posterior aspect of the interosseous membrane and tibia in the lower leg, and must be elevated during a posterolateral approach to the tibia for treating a nonunion? Review Topic

QID: 988
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1

Flexor digitorum longus and tibialis posterior

45%

(306/673)

2

Peroneus longus and peroneus brevis

3%

(23/673)

3

Peroneus brevis and peroneus tertius

3%

(18/673)

4

Tibialis posterior and tibialis anterior

0%

(0/673)

5

Tibialis posterior and flexor hallucis longus

48%

(321/673)

L 4

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SUBMIT RESPONSE 1
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