Management of the Floating Knee in Polytrauma Patients

M.L. Bertrand*, P. Andrés-Cano
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Hospital Costa del Sol. University of Malaga, Spain

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© Bertrand et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Hospital Costa del Sol. University of Málaga, 29603 Marbella, Malaga, Spain; Tel: +0034 617 444 939; E-mail:


Ipsilateral fracture of the femur and tibia, or floating knee, is a rare injury that is found almost exclusively in polytrauma or high-energy trauma patients. It presents a combination of diaphyseal, metaphyseal and intra-articular fractures of the femur and tibia, with a high incidence of neurovascular, ligamentous and soft-tissue injuries. The functional outcome and, in some cases, the life, of such polytrauma patients depends largely on a correct therapeutic approach being taken. In general, the treatment decided upon will depend on the individual characteristics present, regarding aspects such as the patient’s general condition, the fracture line and the state of the soft tissues. The treatment provided may be the same as when single fractures are presented, but it is often necessary to consider whether certain techniques or surgical approaches may interfere with other lines of treatment. It is essential at all times to take into consideration the associated injuries and complications before deciding upon a treatment strategy. Ligamentous injuries play an important role in these injuries, much more so than when fractures occur singly. Therefore, these injuries require management by an experienced multidisciplinary team.

Keywords: Damage control, floating knee, knee injuries, polytrauma.