Involvement of Residents Does Not Increase Postoperative Complications After Open Reduction Internal Fixation of Ankle Fractures: An Analysis of 3251 Cases

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Abstract

Ankle fractures are common injuries frequently treated by foot and ankle surgeons. Therefore, it has become a core competency for orthopedic residency training. Surgical educators must balance the task of training residents with optimizing patient outcomes and minimizing morbidity and mortality. The present study aimed to determine the effect of resident involvement on the 30-day postoperative complication rates after open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fractures. A second objective of the present study was to determine the independent risk factors for complications after this procedure. We identified patients in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who had undergone open reduction internal fixation for ankle fractures from 2005 to 2012. Propensity score matching was used to help account for a potential selection bias. We performed univariate and multivariate analyses to identify the independent risk factors associated with short-term postoperative complications. A total of 3251 open reduction internal fixation procedures for ankle fractures were identified, of which 959 (29.4%) had resident involvement. Univariate (2.82% versus 4.54%; p = .024) and multivariate (odds ratio 0.71; p = .75) analyses demonstrated that resident involvement did not increase short-term complication rates. The independent risk factors for complications after open reduction internal fixation of ankle fractures included insulin-dependent diabetes, increasing age, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists score, and longer operative times.

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