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Fasciotomy and rate of amputation after tibial fracture in adults: a population-based cohort study


Objectives — Limb amputation is a possible outcome of acute compartment syndrome. We undertook this study to investigate the occurrence of fasciotomy and amputation in patients with tibial fractures in the Ontario adult population, aiming to evaluate variables that may be associated with each of these outcomes.

Design — Retrospective, population-based cohort study (April 1, 2003–March 31, 2016).

Setting — Canadian province of Ontario.

Participants — Patients with tibial fracture, aged 14 years and older.

Intervention(s) — Fasciotomy after tibial fracture.

Main Outcome(s) and Measure(s) — The primary outcomes were fasciotomy and amputation within 1 year of fasciotomy. Secondary outcomes included repeat surgery, new-onset renal failure, and mortality, all within 30 days of fasciotomy.

Results — We identified 76,299 patients with tibial fracture; the mean (SD) age was 47 (21) years. Fasciotomy was performed in 1303 patients (1.7%); of these, 76% were male and 24% female. Patients who were younger, male, or experienced polytrauma were significantly more likely to undergo fasciotomy. Limb amputation occurred in 4.3% of patients undergoing fasciotomy, as compared with 0.5% in those without fasciotomy; older age, male sex, presence of polytrauma, and fasciotomy were associated with an increased risk of amputation (age odds ratio [OR] of 1.03 [95% CI, 1.02–1.03], P < 0.0001; sex OR of 2.04 [95% CI, 1.63–2.55], P < 0.0001; polytrauma OR of 9.37 [95% CI, 7.64–11.50], P < 0.0001; fasciotomy OR of 4.35 [95% CI, 3.21–5.90], P < 0.0001), as well as repeat surgery within 30 days (sex OR of 1.54 [95% CI, 1.14–2.07], P = 0.0053; polytrauma OR of 4.24 [95% CI, 3.33–5.38], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions — Among tibial fracture patients, those who were male and who experienced polytrauma were at significantly higher risk of undergoing fasciotomy and subsequent amputation. Fasciotomy was also significantly associated with risk of amputation, a finding that is likely reflective of the severity of the initial injury.



Bihari A, McClure JA, Inculet C, Del Balso C, Vinden C, Schemitsch E, Sanders D, Lawendy AR. OTA Int. 2024; 7(2):e333. Epub 2024 Apr 15.

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