Orthopedic Injuries Around the NFL: Dez Bryant 's Tibial Plateau Fracture

In Week 3 of this NFL season, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a non-displaced tibial plateau fracture against the Chicago Bears. In the news, the injury was labeled a "hairline fracture of the knee." The injury resulted from Bryant landing awkwardly on his leg while being tackled near the sideline. Bryant is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.


Tibial Plateau Fractures:

  • Classically described as "bumper" or "fender" fracture from mechanism of car bumper/fender striking the knee while the foot is firmly planted on the ground. However this mechanism accounts for only 25% of these injuries.
  • The majority of tibial plateau fractures result from falls that deliver an axial load to the knee.
  • A lateral tibial plateau fracture is the most common type.
  • Medial tibial plateau fractures require more force so have a high suspicion for concurrent ligament, arterial injuries.
  • If the initial x-ray is negative but your suspicion is high, proceed with¬†CT scan of the knee without contrast.
  • A tibial pleateau fracture is present if a lipohemarthrosis in discovered.
  • Tibial plateau fractures are treated both non-operatively and operatively. Involve your orthopedic surgeon with all tibial plateau fractures.

Schatzker Classification of Tibial Plateau Fractures:

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