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28.05.2018 | Original Paper

Children with open tibial fractures show significantly lower infection rates than adults: clinical comparative study

International Orthopaedics
Hui Chen, Shunyou Chen, Yi Shi, Yunan Lu, Bin Yu
Wichtige Hinweise
Hui Chen and Shunyou Chen contributed equally to this study as co-first authors.



The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare the surgical site infection (SSI) rates of children and adults after open tibia fracture at a single medical centre.


A retrospective study was performed on patients who sustained open tibia fractures and who received treatment at our hospital from 2012 to 2016. Data on age, gender, fracture site, Gustilo-Anderson grade, treatment management, and culture results from the infection site were recorded.


Overall, 37 children with a mean age of 7.19 ± 2.28 years and 89 adults with a mean age of 40.38 ± 13.53 years were enrolled. The rate of SSIs was 13.5% (6/37) in children, which was significantly lower than the 21.3% (19/89) rate in adults (p < 0.001). The mean number of days to discharge was 12.86 ± 10.25 in children, which was significantly lower than the mean of 28.67 ± 16.92 days in adults (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the average waiting time for soft tissue recovery before definitive surgery was 1.41 ± 1.79 and 8.42 ± 4.38 days in children and in adults, respectively, and the difference was significant (p < 0.001). Early infection occurred more frequently in adults (5/19) than in children (0/6). Staphylococcus aureus was the most commonly found pathogen in both groups.


The SSI rate of paediatric patients after open tibia fracture fixation is significantly lower than that of adults, and the prognosis of the former is superior. The results indicate a superior ability of soft tissue recovery and infection resistance after open tibia fracture fixation among children.

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