Lateral tibial plateau fracture (Schatzker I)

Case contributed by Kumar V M Ramavathu


Twisted knee, reduced range of movement, pain and cannot weight bear.

Patient Data

Age: 75 years
Gender: Female

Right knee radiographs


Frontal right knee radiograph shows a cleavage fracture of the lateral tibial plateau. Lateral projection shows a lipohemarthrosis.  

CT right knee


CT images confirm an intra-articular cleavage fracture involving the lateral tibial plateau. No significant depression or displacement of the fracture fragment is noted.

Case Discussion

Schatzker type 1 fracture is defined as a pure cleavage fracture involving the lateral tibial condyle, the depression or displacement of the involved condyle is less than 4mm as per definition. These fractures occur as a result of lateral femoral condyle being driven into the tibial plateau articular surface at the time of the injury.

Depressed condyle is difficult to measure on plain radiograph, CT is more useful to definitely diagnose type 1 fractures and differentiate them from type 2 fractures by accurate measurement of the fracture fragment depression/displacement.

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