Operative Fixation of Unstable Ankle Fractures in Patients Aged Over 80 Years

Wirral University Hospitals NHS Trust, Arrowe Park Hospital, Arrowe Park Road, Upton, Wirral CH45 5PE, United Kingdom.
Foot & Ankle International (Impact Factor: 1.51). 06/2011; 32(6):599-602. DOI: 10.3113/FAI.2011.0599
Source: PubMed


Controversy exists regarding the surgical treatment of unstable ankle fractures in the very elderly age group of over 80 years. However, the literature regarding the prognosis of surgery in this elderly group is limited. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the results of patients above 80 years old who underwent operative fixation for unstable ankle fractures.
Ninety-two consecutive patients, 80 females and 12 males, above 80 years of age had open reduction and internal fixation for unstable ankle fractures during the period of January 1998 to August 2007. The data was collected retrospectively from the case records and radiographs. The complications were noted and the risk factors for poor outcome were analyzed. The average age was 85.2 (range, 80.1 to 95.1) years. The minimum duration of followup was 9 months, with an average of 15 (range, 9 to 28) months.
The most common fracture pattern was Danis-Weber B type. The superficial wound infection rate was 7% (6 cases) and the deep infection rate was 4.6% (4 cases). The 30 day postoperative mortality was 5.4% (five cases). Eighty-six percent (75 out of 87 cases) were able to return back to their pre injury mobility at the last followup. Diabetes, dementia, peripheral vascular disease and smoking were found to be statistically significant risk factors associated with wound complications.
The results of operative fixation of unstable ankle fractures were encouraging with good functional recovery and return to pre injury mobility status in most cases.

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