Increasing age and modifiable comorbidities are associated with short-term complications after open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fractures.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Ankle fractures are common orthopedic injuries with complication rates fixation of up to 40%. Limited evidence exists in the literature regarding complications in the elderly population, and moreover, these studies frequently define elderly arbitrarily at 60-65 years old. The purpose of the present study was to utilize a large, validated database to evaluate whether there is an inflection point of age when postoperative complications after an ankle fracture significantly increase. METHODS: A retrospective review of all patients in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who underwent fixation of an ankle fracture between 2012 and 2018 was performed. Patients were identified within the database using the Current Procedural Terminology codes. Appropriate statistical analysis was performed with p value less than 0.05 considered statistically significant. RESULTS: A total of 27,633 fractures were including and comprised of 221 posterior malleolar, 1567 medial malleolar, 8495 lateral malleolar, 10,175 bimalleolar, and 7175 trimalleolar. A total of 1545 complications were encountered (5.6%). There was a statistically significant association between increasing age and complications (OR = 1.03; p < 0.001). Further analysis shows the largest spike in complications within the age 78 + bracket. There were no overall interaction effects between age and fracture subtype (p = 0.223). CONCLUSION: ORIF of ankle fractures is a common orthopedic procedure performed on patients of all ages, with complications ranging in severity. In order to best counsel patients on their individual postoperative risks, large datasets are often necessary to prognosticate. This study found that postoperative complications increase with advanced age. The incidence of complications did not spike for patients around the age of 65, but rather followed an incremental linear pattern with the largest increase in odds ratio occurring at age 78 and above. Complication rate was not associated with specific fracture type based off of ICD codes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Danilkowicz, RM; Grimm, NL; Kim, J; O'Donnell, JA; Allen, NB; Adams, SB

Published Date

  • January 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 113 - 119

PubMed ID

  • 33759030

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-1068

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00590-021-02927-z


  • eng

Conference Location

  • France