Locking versus Non-locking Neutralization Plates with Limited Excision and Internal Fixation for Treatment of Extra-articular Type a Distal Tibial Fractures

Kai-hua Zhou, Nong Chen*
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University, Qingpu District, Shanghai, China

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© Zhou and Chen

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital of Fudan University, No.1158, Gong Yuan Dong Road, Qingpu District, Shanghai, China 201700; Tel: 0086+13918528064; E-mail:



This study aimed to compare the clinical, radiologic, and cost-effectiveness results between locking and non-locking plates for the treatment of extra-articular type A distal tibial fractures.


We performed a retrospective review of AO/OTA 42-A1, A2 distal tibial fractures treated by plates from January 2011 to June 2013. Patients were divided to the locking plate group or the non-locking plate group. Clinical outcomes, radiographic outcomes, and hospitalization fee were compared between the two plates groups.


28 patients were treated with a locking plate and 23 patients were treated with a non-locking plate. The mean follow-up was 18.8 months (12-23 months). There were no significant differences between the groups in surgical time, bleeding, bone union time, or AOFAS scores. The cost of the locking plate was ¥24,648.41 ± 6,812.95 and the cost of the non-locking plate was ¥11,642 ± 3,162.57, p < 0.001. Each group had one patient that experienced superficial infection these wounds were readily healed by oral antibiotics and dressing changes. To date, five patients in the locking group and ten patients in the non-locking group had sensations of metal stimulation or other discomfort (X2 = 3.99, p < 0.05) Until the last follow-up, 14 patients in the locking plate group and 18 patients in the non-locking plate group had their plates removed or wanted to remove their plates (X2 = 4.31, p < 0.05).


The use of locking or non-locking plates provides a similar outcome in the treatment of distal fractures. However the locking plate is much more expensive than the non-locking plate.

Keywords: AO/OTA type A, Distal tibial fracture, Locking plate, Neutralization plate, Non-locking plate.