Wound complications after open reduction and internal fixation of tibial plateau fractures in the elderly: a multicentre study

Christopher L. Gaunder, Zibin Zhao, Corey Henderson, Brandon R. McKinney, Philip F. Stahel, Boris A Zelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The incidence of wound complications after open reduction with internal fixation (ORIF) of tibial plateau fractures in young patients has been reported to range from approximately 5 to 15%. Reports on wound complication rates in the elderly patients are limited. This study investigates the incidence of post-operative wound complications in elderly patients undergoing ORIF of their tibial plateau fractures. Methods: A retrospective study was performed within three accredited level 1 trauma centres. Patients > 60 years of age undergoing open reduction and internal fixation of their tibial plateau fractures were included. The primary outcome measure was wound complications of the surgical site. These were divided into superficial infections versus deep infections. Results: One hundred two patients matched the inclusion criteria. Of these, 16 patients (15.7%) developed a post-operative wound infection. The analysis of underlying co-morbidities and risk factors revealed that patients with American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) classes 3 and 4 were at significantly increased risk of sustaining a wound complications as compared to ASA classes 1 and 2 (23.7 versus 5.1%, p = 0.015). Conclusions: The overall infection rates in elderly patients undergoing ORIF for tibial plateau fractures is in a similar range to published data on younger patient populations. In particular, elderly patients without significant co-morbidities seem to be appropriate candidates for ORIF of their tibial plateau fractures. However, elderly patients with significant co-morbidities must be considered as high risk and alternative treatment options, such as nonoperative treatment or less invasive surgical options, should be explored in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 9 2018



  • Complication
  • Elderly
  • Fracture
  • Surgical site infection
  • Tibial plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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