Comparison of Supination External Rotation Type IV Ankle Fractures in Geriatric Versus Nongeriatric Populations
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Geriatric patients' (defined as those older than 65 years old) inherent comorbidities, functional limitations, and bone quality present obstacles to successful clinical outcomes for operatively treated supination external rotation (SER) ankle fractures. We retrospectively reviewed a prospectively collected series of SER injuries between 2004 and 2010. This is a comparison of the radiographic and clinical outcomes of our geriatric (27 patients) and nongeriatric (81 patients) populations. We hypothesized that geriatric patients would have worse outcomes when compared to nongeriatric patients. METHODS: All SER ankle fractures (176) treated by a single surgeon were enrolled in a prospective database. All patients fulfilled inclusion criteria (108) consisting of 1 year of having clinical follow-up, postoperative radiographs, and Foot & Ankle Outcome Scores (FAOS). The primary outcome evaluated was functional outcome as exhibited by the FAOS. The secondary outcomes included adequacy of reduction, loss of reduction, postoperative complications (wound complications, infection, pain-driven hardware removal), and range of motion. RESULTS: Despite significantly higher rates of diabetes (P < .001) and peripheral vascular disease (P < .001), there were statistically significantly better FAOS outcomes in the symptoms subcategory among the geriatric population. There was no significant difference in the articular reduction, syndesmotic reduction, wound complications, postoperative infections, or range of motion between these groups. CONCLUSION: Geriatric patients exhibited equivalent complication rates, radiographic outcomes, and functional outcomes compared to nongeriatric patients in this series. Anatomic fixation and soft tissue management counter the inherent risks of operative intervention in geriatric populations that report higher rates of comorbidities. This study supports aggressive fracture- and ligament-specific operative intervention in geriatric patients presenting with unstable SER injuries. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, retrospective case control study of prospectively collected data.