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Injury. 2013 Jul;44(7):1007-10. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2013.03.014. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Open reduction and internal fixation of acute intra-articular displaced calcaneal fractures: a retrospective analysis of surgical timing and infection rates.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


The choice of surgical timing in open reduction for calcaneal fractures has been proposed to be associated with soft-tissue complications and infection. This study analysed the correlation between surgical timing and postoperative infection rates. We performed a retrospective single-surgeon single-facility study (Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, KMUH) between January 2006 and January 2010. Fifty patients with 53 close intra-articular calcaneal fractures were included. They received open reduction and internal fixation via the extensile lateral L-shaped approach. We assessed the duration between heel trauma and operation from the medical records and sorted our patients into early (within 3 days), intermediate (from 3 to 10 days) and delayed (over 10 days) surgical groups. The mean follow-up period was 13 months. Only one of the 50 patients, a 74-year-old female with diabetes mellitus, developed deep infection requiring hardware removal and serial debridement. Overall, we did not find a statistical difference in postoperative infection rates in the different timing groups. Our conclusion is that in experienced hands, surgical timing may not affect postoperative infection rates in calcaneal fracture among strictly selected patients who do not have potential risk factors for wound complication. Therefore, early operation may be helpful to these patients.

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