Postoperative Reoperations and Complications in 32,307 Ankle Fractures With and Without Concurrent Ankle Arthroscopic Procedures in a 5-Year Period Based on a Large U.S. Healthcare Database

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The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery




Residual symptoms often persist even after successful operative reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of ankle fractures. Concurrent ankle arthroscopic procedures (CAAPs) have been proposed to improve clinical outcomes; however, a dearth of evidence is available supporting this practice. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the reoperation and complication rates after ORIF of ankle fractures with and without CAAPs. Reoperations and complications after ORIF of ankle fractures were identified using the PearlDiver database from January 2007 to December 2011. The CAAPs included bone marrow stimulation, debridement, synovectomy, and unspecified cartilage procedures. Reoperation procedures consisted of ankle fracture repeat fixation, arthroscopic procedures, osteochondral autograft transfers, and ankle arthrodesis. Of the 32,307 patients who underwent ankle fracture fixation, 248 received CAAP and 32,059 did not. No significant difference was found in the reoperation rate between the 2 groups (7.7% versus 8.6%; odds ratio 0.89; 95% confidence interval 0.55 to 1.42; p = .61). Of the 248 patients in the CAAP group, 19 (7.7%) underwent reoperation, of which 13 (68.4%) were arthroscopic debridement and 6 were either ankle refixation or osteochondral autograft transfer. For the non-CAAP group, 3021 reoperation procedures were performed, consisting of ankle refixation in 83.2%, arthroscopic procedures in 14.3%, and ankle arthrodesis in 2.5%. The complication rate in the non-CAAP group included wound dehiscence in 2.4%, wound surgery in 0.4%, deep vein thrombosis in 0.8%, and pulmonary embolism in 0.4%. No complications were detected in the CAAP group. Ankle fracture fixation with CAAPs did not increase the postoperative reoperation rate compared with ankle fracture fixation without CAAPs.