Schatzker classification of tibial plateau fractures

Schatzker classification system is one method of classifying tibial plateau fractures.

Increase in type number denotes increasing severity, reflecting not only increased energy imparted to the bone at the time of injury but also an increasingly worse prognosis 1. The most common fracture of the tibial plateau is type II.

This system divides tibial plateau fractures into six types:

  • Schatzker I: wedge-shaped pure cleavage fracture of the lateral tibial plateau, originally defined as having less than 4 mm of depression or displacement
  • Schatzker II: splitting and depression of the lateral tibial plateau; namely, type I fracture with a depressed component
  • Schatzker III: pure depression of the lateral tibial plateau; divided into two subtypes:
    • Schatzker IIIa: with lateral depression
    • Schatzker IIIb: with central depression
  • Schatzker IV:  medial tibial plateau fracture with a split or depressed component
  • Schatzker V: wedge fracture of both lateral and medial tibial plateau
  • Schatzker VI: transverse tibial metadiaphyseal fracture, along with any type of tibial plateau fracture (metaphyseal-diaphyseal discontinuity)

This classification was first published by Joseph Schatzker et al. in 1990 4.

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Article Information

rID: 7322
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Tibial plateau fractures - Schatzker classification
  • Schatzker classification of tibial plateau fractures
  • Schatzker classification of tibial plateau injuries

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Cases and Figures

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    Figure 1: Schatzker classification diagram
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     Case 1: type I
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    Case 2: type II
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    Case 3: type II
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    Case 4: type II
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    Case 5: type II
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    Case 6: type IIIb
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    Case 7: type IV
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    Case 8: type V
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    Case 9: type V
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    Case 10: type V
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    Case 11: type VI
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