Introduction: Modified tension band wiring has been widely used to treat transverse patellar fractures. However, few studies have evaluated the clinical outcomes using different methods of Kirschner wire bending, location of the tension band, and depths of Kirschner wires. Thus, we tried to clarify these factors according to our clinical outcomes. Patients and methods: This retrospective cohort study recruited consecutive patients underwent surgical fixation for patellar fractures using modified tension band technique between January 2010 and December 2015. Different factors in this procedure, including the bending manner of the Kirschner wires, their depth, and location of the tension band with respect to the superior and inferior border of the patella were recorded and analysed. The primary outcome was early loss of fixation. The secondary outcomes were minor loss of reduction, implant breakage, deep infection, and the need for implant removal. Results: This study included 170 patients with patellar fractures. Regarding the bending method, similar results were obtained with bilaterally or proximally bent Kirschner wires. Regarding length, the tension band was placed closely (within 25% of the patella length) in 124 patients and distantly in 46 patients. The rates of loss of reduction and implant breakage were significantly higher in the distantly placed tension bands. Regarding depth, 37 patellar fractures were fixed with the Kirschner wires at the superficial one third of the patellae while the K- wires at the middle layer of patella were used in the remaining 133 patellar fractures. A significantly higher rate of minor loss of reduction was obtained using the superficial Kirschner wires. Conclusion: The modified tension band technique for transverse patella fractures provides favourable clinical outcomes, with low failure (5%) and infection (2%) rates. Implant irritation is the major complication, and almost half of cases require implant removal. The location of the tension band with respect to the superior and inferior border of the patella plays an important role in clinical outcomes. Placing the wire close to the patella may prevent major loss of reduction and implant breakage. Superficially placed Kirschner wires also affect clinical outcomes by increasing the rate of minor loss of reduction.
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