Ankle fractures: high implant cost is not associated with better patient reported outcomes Journal Article uri icon
  • INTRODUCTION: Ankle fractures comprise 9% of all fractures and are among the most common fractures requiring operative management. Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) with plates and screws is the gold standard for the treatment of unstable, displaced ankle fractures. While performing ORIF, orthopaedic surgeons may choose from several fixation methods including locking versus nonlocking plating and whether to use screws or suture buttons for syndesmotic injuries. Nearly all orthopaedic surgeons treat ankle fractures but most are unfamiliar with implant costs. No study to date has correlated the cost of ankle fracture fixation with health status as perceived by patients through patient reported outcomes (PROs). The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a relationship between increasing implant cost and PROs after a rotational ankle fracture. METHODS: All ankle fractures treated with open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) at a level I academic trauma center from January 2018 to December 2022 were identified. Inclusion criteria included all rotational ankle fractures with a minimum 6-month follow-up and completed 6-month PRO. Patients were excluded for age <18, polytrauma and open fracture. Variables assessed included demographics, fracture classifications, Foot and Ankle Ability Measure-Activities of Daily Living (FAAM-ADL) score, implant type, and implant cost. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant difference in cost between fracture types (p < 0.0001) with trimalleolar fractures being the most expensive. The mean FAAM-ADL score was lowest for trimalleolar fractures at 78.9, 95% CI [75.5, 82.3]. A diagnosis of osteoporosis/osteopenia was associated with a decrease in cost of $233.3, 95% CI [-411.8, -54.8]. There was no relationship between syndesmotic fixation and implant cost, $102.6, 95% CI [-74.9, 280.0]. There was no correlation between implant cost and FAAM-ADL score at 6 months (p = 0.48). CONCLUSIONS: The utilization of higher cost ankle fixation does not correlate with better FAAM-ADL scores. Orthopaedic surgeons may choose less expensive implants to improve the value of ankle fixation without impacting patient reported outcomes.

  • Link to Article
    publication date
  • 2023
  • published in
  • Injury  Journal
  • Research
  • Ankle
  • Economics
  • Fractures
  • Orthopedics
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery
  • Additional Document Info
  • 54
  • issue
  • 10