Single-stage orthoplastic reconstruction of Gustilo-Anderson Grade III open tibial fractures greatly reduces infection rates

J A Mathews, J Ward, T W Chapman, U M Khan, M B Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Grade III open fractures of the tibia represent a serious injury. It is recognised that combined management of these cases by experienced orthopaedic and plastic surgeons improves outcomes. Previous studies have not considered the timing of definitive soft tissue cover in relation to the definitive orthopaedic management. This paper reviews the outcomes in patients treated in an orthoplastic unit where the emphasis was on undertaking the definitive orthopaedic and plastic surgical procedures in a single stage, following initial debridement and temporary stabilisation as necessary.

METHODS: We reviewed medical notes of 73 consecutive patients with 74 Grade III open tibia fractures (minimum 1 year follow up), to compare deep infection rates in patients who had (a) a single-stage definitive fixation and soft tissue coverage vs. those who had separate operations, and (b) those who had definitive treatment completed in <72h vs. >72h.

RESULTS: (a) Combined Single-stage Orthoplastic Fixation and Coverage: 48 fractures were managed with definitive orthopaedic fixation and plastic surgical coverage performed at the same time, whilst 26 had these performed at separate stages. Of those subjects that had definitive fixation and coverage in one procedure 2 (4.2%) developed deep infections, compared with 9 (34.6%) deep infections (p<0.001) in those who underwent definitive fixation and coverage at separate operations. (b) Timing of surgery: Of the fractures that had definitive fixation and coverage completed within 72h of injury, 5 (20%) developed deep infections, compared with 6 (12.2%) deep infections (p=0.492) in those whose definitive fixation/coverage was completed at later than 72h.

CONCLUSION: Joint orthoplastic operating lists facilitate simultaneous definitive fixation and cover that greatly reduces infection rates. Based on our experience presented in this paper, we believe that emphasis should be placed on timely transfer to a specialist centre, aiming for a single-stage combined orthoplastic procedure to achieve definitive fixation and soft tissue coverage and optimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2263-6
Number of pages4
JournalInjury
Volume46
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal
  • Fractures, Open
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Tibial Fractures
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Journal Article

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