Talus fractures are relatively uncommon; however, the sequelae of talus fractures can cause significant morbidity. Although avascular necrosis has been a consistently reported complication, the reported rates of subsequent arthrodesis have varied widely. The purpose of the present study was to report the complications in a large patient sample of operatively treated talus fractures and to describe the survivorship of open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) of the talus. Patients undergoing talus ORIF for closed or open fractures from 2007 to 2011 were identified in the United Healthcare System database by International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, code 825.21 and Current Procedural Terminology codes 28445, 28436, and 28430. Patients with a nonoperative talus fracture or isolated osteochondral defect were excluded, leaving 1527 patients in the final analysis. We also identified patients who had required subsequent subtalar, pantalar, and tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodeses using Current Procedural Terminology codes 28725, 28705, and 28715, respectively. Complications and demographic data were recorded. Of the 1527 patients, 29 (1.9%) had undergone subsequent arthrodesis within 4 years; 64 patients (4.2%) developed wound complications that did not require surgical intervention, 11 patients (0.7%) were readmitted, 204 (13.3%) presented to the emergency department (ED), and 96 (6.3%) underwent operative irrigation and debridement (I&D). The overall complication rate was 19.5%. Patients aged >34 years had a significantly greater rate of ED visits (54.7%, p = .015) and overall complications (56.8%, p < .001). In conclusion, ORIF of talus fractures has good survivorship when considering the failure of initial surgery or the requirement for secondary arthrodesis. Medical complications and hospital readmission were relatively rare; however, ED visits and infection requiring I&D were relatively common after ORIF of talus fractures.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 4