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26.10.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2017 Open Access

Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology 4/2017

Open treatment of ankle fracture as inpatient increases risk of complication

Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology > Ausgabe 4/2017
Michelle S. Shen, Ashley C. Dodd, Nikita Lakomkin, Idine Mousavi, Catherine Bulka, A. Alex Jahangir, Manish K. Sethi
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Ankle fracture is one of the most common injuries treated by orthopaedic surgeons, and its incidence is only expected to rise with an aging population. It is also associated with often costly complications, yet there is little literature on risk factors, especially modifiable ones, driving these complications. The aim of this study is to reveal whether inpatient treatment after ankle fracture is associated with higher incidence of postoperative complications. As the USA moves towards a bundled payment healthcare system, it is imperative that orthopaedists maximize patient outcome and quality of care while also reducing overall costs.

Materials and methods

We used the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database to compare complication rates between inpatient and outpatient treatment of ankle fracture. We collected patient demographics, comorbidities, and postoperative complications from both groups, then compared treatments using a multinomial logistic regression model.


We identified 7383 patients, with 2630 (36%) in the outpatient and 2630 (36%) in the inpatient group. Of these, 104 (4.0%) inpatients compared with 52 (2.0%) outpatients developed a complication (p < 0.001).


Inpatients developed major complications including deep wound infection and pulmonary embolism, as well as minor complications such as pneumonia and urinary tract infection, at significantly greater rates. As reimbursement models begin to incorporate value-based care, orthopaedic surgeons need to be aware of factors associated with increased incidence of postoperative complications.

Level of evidence

Level III retrospective comparative study.
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