Short- and Long-Term Outcomes following Severe Traumatic Lower Extremity Reconstruction: The Value of an Orthoplastic Limb Salvage Center to Racially Underserved Communities.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Previous studies have demonstrated that nonwhite race and disadvantaged socioeconomic status negatively impact outcomes following lower extremity reconstruction. The authors sought to characterize differences in outcomes between racial groups in patients necessitating traumatic lower extremity reconstruction at an orthoplastic limb salvage center.


A retrospective review between 2002 and 2019 was conducted of patients who underwent free flap lower extremity reconstruction at an orthoplastic limb salvage center. Patient demographics were identified, and permanent addresses were used to collect census data. Short-term complications and long-term functional status were recorded.


One hundred seventy-three patients underwent lower extremity reconstruction and met inclusion criteria. Among all three groups, African American patients were more likely to be single (80 percent African American versus 49 percent Caucasian and 29.4 percent other; p < 0.05) and had significantly lower rates of private insurance compared with Caucasian patients (25 percent versus 56.7 percent; p < 0.05). African American patients demonstrated no significant differences in total flap failure (4.9 percent versus 8 percent and 5.6 percent; p = 0.794), reoperations (10 percent versus 5.8 percent and 16.7 percent; p = 0.259), and number of readmissions (2.4 versus 2.0 and 2.1; p = 0.624). Chronic pain management (53.3 percent versus 44.2 percent and 50 percent; p = 0.82), full weight-bearing status (84.2 percent versus 92.7 percent and 100 percent; p = 0.507), and ambulation status (92.7 percent versus 100 percent and 100 percent; p = 0.352) were similar among groups.


Outcomes are equivalent between racial groups presenting to an orthoplastic limb salvage center for lower extremity reconstruction. The postoperative rehabilitation strategies, follow-up, and overall support that an orthoplastic limb salvage center ensures may lessen the impact of socioeconomic disparities in traumatic lower extremity reconstruction.

Clinical question/level of evidence

Risk, II.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Naga, HI; Azoury, SC; Othman, S; Couto, JA; Mehta, S; Levin, LS; Butler, PD; Kovach, SJ

Published Date

  • September 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 148 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 646 - 654

PubMed ID

  • 34432698

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-4242

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0032-1052

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/prs.0000000000008277


  • eng