Ankle fractures requiring open reduction and internal fixation vary in severity from unimalleolar fractures to bimalleolar/trimalleolar (BT) fractures to pilon fractures. Consequently, the postoperative outcomes with these surgeries can vary. Most previous studies of these injuries had small sample sizes, studied a single risk factor or adverse event, or did not compare different injuries by severity. The purpose of the present study was to describe and compare the patient characteristics and postoperative outcomes of 2 high-energy ankle fractures: BT and pilon fractures. The relevant patients were identified from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database using the Current Procedural Terminology codes for BT and pilon fractures. Patient demographics, characteristics, comorbidities, and 30-day mortality and adverse events were recorded and compared between the 2 types of ankle fractures. More than 45% of patients with these fracture types were aged 40 to 65 years. Pilon fractures occurred more frequently in younger patients, were more likely to occur in men, required a longer hospital stay and operative time, were less likely to occur in patients with a body mass index of >30 kg/m2, and conferred a greater risk of wound complications (odds ratio 1.76; p = .048) compared with BT fractures. The findings from the present study help us understand the differences in patient characteristics and potential early adverse events after open reduction and internal fixation of BT fractures versus pilon fractures.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 2