Orthoplastic Treatment of Open Lower-Limb Fractures Improves Outcomes: A 12-Year Review

Estelle M. D'Cunha, Jowan G. Penn-Barwell, John McMaster, Charles A. Fries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The British Orthopaedic Association Standards for Orthopaedics and Trauma 4 (BOAST 4) inform the management of open lower-limb fractures. The authors conducted repeated reviews of performance against these standards over a 12-year period. This latest iteration has shown further improvements in outcomes concomitant with changes in service delivery. Methods: Data on Gustilo-Anderson grade IIIB or IIIC open lower-limb fractures were collected from a prospectively constructed departmental database and analyzed using Excel. Outcomes assessed included time to stabilization, time to definitive soft-tissue coverage, and deep infection rates. Results A total of 69% of patients in our cohort received care that aligned with BOAST 4 guidelines. Median time to stabilization was 14.2 hours and to soft-tissue coverage was 47 hours, with 71% of cases compliant with BOAST 4 guidelines. The overall deep infection rate was 6.5% in our cohort. There was a significantly lower deep infection rate in BOAST 4-compliant cases (2%) versus noncompliant cases (16%), respectively (P = 0.05). A total of 41 of 61 patients had fixation and soft-tissue coverage in a single operation (fix and flap), eight had staged operations, and 12 required local flap closure. There was no significant difference in deep infection rates among these approaches. Conclusions: Compliance with the BOAST 4 guidelines and time to definitive soft-tissue coverage have improved at our center since the last review. Deep infection rates were significantly lower in BOAST 4-compliant cases, further validating this approach. The fix and flap technique was introduced during the study period and reduces operative burden for patients. These results support a joint orthoplastic approach as the optimal management for these complex injuries. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308E-314E
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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