Patients at Increased Risk of Major Adverse Events Following Operative Treatment of Distal Radius Fractures: Inpatient versus Outpatient

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The purpose of this study was to compare complication rates following inpatient versus outpatient distal radius fracture ORIF and identify specific complications that occur at increased rates among inpatients.


Using the 2005-2013 ACS-NSQIP, we collected patient demographics, comorbidities, surgical characteristics, and 30-day postoperative complications following isolated ORIF of distal radius fractures. A propensity score matched design using an 8-to-1 “greedy” matching algorithm in a 1:4 ratio of inpatients to outpatients was utilized. Rates of minor, major, and total complications were compared. A multinomial logistic regression model was then used to assess the odds of complications following inpatient surgery.


Total 4,016 patients were identified, 776 (19.3%) of whom underwent inpatient surgery and 3,240 (80.3%) underwent outpatient surgery. The propensity score matching algorithm yielded a cohort of 629 inpatients who were matched with 2,516 outpatients (1:4 ratio). After propensity score matching, inpatient treatment was associated with increased rates of major and total complications but not with minor complications. There was an increased odds of major complications and total complications following inpatient surgery compared with outpatient surgery. There was no difference in odds of minor complications between groups.


Inpatient operative treatment of distal radius fractures is associated with significantly increased rates of major and total complications compared with operative treatment as an outpatient. Odds of a major complication are six times higher and odds of total complications are two and a half times higher following inpatient distal radius ORIF compared with outpatient. Quality improvement measures should be specifically targeted to patients undergoing distal radius fracture ORIF in the inpatient setting.

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