Weber B ankle fracture: an unnecessary fracture clinic burden

Injury. 2004 Aug;35(8):805-8. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2003.12.013.


Fifty-three patients with ankle fractures presenting to a trauma clinic at a busy district general hospital were used for this study. All subjects sustained fibular fractures at the syndesmosis without demonstrable medial instability or mortice incongruity. All cases were collected consecutively. Radiographs and case notes were studied for each patient. All fractures were categorised as Weber B [Pratique de l'osteosynthese. Les fractures malleolaires (1949)] without medial malleolar fracture. Data collected included the number of radiographs taken per patient and clinic reviews until discharge. Duration of immobilisation was recorded as well as weight bearing status. None of the 53 fractures showed any change in position following serial radiology. No patient underwent manipulation or internal fixation of the fracture. For Weber B fractures there was an average of six radiographs and 4.3 clinic reviews until discharge. There was a median time of 5.7 weeks spent in plaster immobilisation for these fractures. We conclude that once the decision is made to treat Weber B fractures as stable injuries they do not require regular review and serial radiographs. They require only one initial radiograph. Significant reductions in the number of trauma clinic consultations can be achieved as well as a national cost saving in the order of half a million pounds for the X-rays alone.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Ankle Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Ankle Injuries / therapy*
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Cost Savings
  • England
  • Fractures, Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immobilization
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Radiography
  • Retreatment
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / injuries*
  • Workload