Ankle fractures are among the most common injuries treated by orthopaedic surgeons. The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the risks of complications after open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fractures in a large population-based study.
With use of California's discharge database, we identified 57,183 patients who had undergone open reduction and internal fixation of a lateral malleolar, bimalleolar, or trimalleolar ankle fracture as inpatients in the years 1995 through 2005. Short-term complications were examined on the basis of the rates of readmission within ninety days after discharge. The intermediate-term rate of reoperation for ankle fusion or arthroplasty was also analyzed. Logistic regression and proportional hazard regression models were used to determine the strength of the relationships between the rates of complications and fracture type, patient demographics and comorbidities, and hospital characteristics.
The overall rate of short-term complications was low, including the rates of pulmonary embolism (0.34%), mortality (1.07%), wound infection (1.44%), amputation (0.16%), and revision open reduction and internal fixation (0.82%). The intermediate-term rates of reoperation were also low, with ankle fusion or ankle replacement being performed in 0.96% of the patients who were observed for five years. Open fractures, age, and medical comorbidities were significant predictors of short-term complications. The presence of complicated diabetes was a particularly strong predictor (odds ratio, 2.30; p < 0.001), as was peripheral vascular disease (odds ratio, 1.65; p < 0.001). The intermediate-term rate of reoperation for ankle fusion or replacement was higher in patients with trimalleolar fractures (hazard ratio, 2.07; p < 0.001) and open fractures (hazard ratio, 5.29; p < 0.001). Treatment at a low-volume hospital was not significantly associated with either the aggregate risk of short-term complications or the risk of intermediate-term reoperation.
By analyzing a large, diverse patient population, the present study clarifies the risks associated with open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fractures. Open injury, diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease were strong risk factors predicting a complicated short-term postoperative course. Fracture type was a strong predictor of reoperation for ankle fusion or replacement. Hospital volume did not play a significant role in the rates of short-term or intermediate-term complications.
"Lower extremity soft tissue is severely traumatized following injury and frequently dictates fracture management. Soft-tissue complications have been associated with isolated fractures of the calcaneus, ankle and tibia    . "
"It is well known that patients with conditions such as diabetes and peripheral vascular disease have an increased risk of complications and unsatisfactory outcome.13 There is also controversy in the treatment of elderly patients with osteoporotic AF.14 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ankle fracture (AF) is a common injury with potentially significant morbidity associated with it. The most common age groups affected are young active patients, sustaining high energy trauma and elderly patients with comorbidities. Both these groups pose unique challenges for appropriate management of these injuries. Young patients are at risk of developing posttraumatic osteoarthritis, with a significant impact on quality of life due to pain and impaired function. Elderly patients, especially with poorly controlled diabetes and osteoporosis are at increased risk of wound complications, infection and failure of fixation. In the most severe cases, this can lead to amputation and mortality. Therefore, individualized approach to the management of AF is vital. This article highlights commonly encountered complications and discusses the measures needed to minimize them when dealing with these injuries.
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics 09/2014; 48(5):445-52. DOI:10.4103/0019-5413.139829 · 0.64 Impact Factor
"Open fibular plating can be complicated by wound complications , particularly in high energy injuries, as well as by late complaints of painful implants. Wound complications from closed distal fibula fractures treated with open reduction internal fixation occur at a rate as high as 17.5%  . Lee et al.  compared pinning of the fibula with a Knowles pin to open reduction internal fixation. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
The purposes of this study were to measure the average distance from a percutaneous pin in each quadrant of the distal fibula to the sural nerve and nearest peroneal tendon, and define the safe zone for percutaneous pin placement as would be used during surgery.
Ten fresh-frozen cadavers underwent percutaneous pin fixation into four quadrants of the distal fibula. The sural nerve and peroneal tendon were identified as they coursed around the lateral ankle. Distances from the K-wire in each quadrant to the anatomic structure of interest were measured.
Average distances (mm) from the K-wire to the sural nerve in the anterolateral, anteromedial, posterolateral, and posteromedial quadrants were 19.1 ± 8.9 (range, 5.1–35.5), 12.8 ± 8.2 (range, 0.3–27.8), 12.6 ± 6.8 (range, 3.0–27.8), and 5.9 ± 5.5 (range, 0.1–19.9), respectively. Average distances from the K-wire to the nearest peroneal tendon in the anterolateral, anteromedial, posterolateral, and posteromedial quadrants were 15.7 ± 4.4 (range, 9.5–23.1), 11.9 ± 5.2 (range, 3.2–21.7), 6.3 ± 3.9 (range, 0.1–14.4), and 1.0 ± 1.6 (range, 0–5.6), respectively.
Percutaneous pinning of distal fibula fractures is a successful treatment option with minimal complications. Our anatomical study found the safe zone of percutaneous pin placement to be in the anterolateral quadrant. The sural nerve can be as close as 5.1 mm and the peroneal tendons as near as 15.7 mm. In contrast, the posteromedial quadrant was associated with the greatest risk of injury to both the sural nerve and peroneal tendons.
Krista Moe, Dorothy Brockopp, Denise McCowan, Sharon Merritt, Brittany Hall
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