Cost description of inpatient treatment for ankle fracture

Injury. 2011 Nov;42(11):1226-9. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2010.08.023. Epub 2010 Sep 23.


Background: The study estimated the hospital costs associated with the surgical fixation of ankle fractures by either open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) or external fixation.

Method: A retrospective review of the clinical records of all 264 patients admitted with an ankle fracture requiring surgical stabilisation between 1 March 2007 and 29 February 2008. Patient records were examined for a minimum of 6 months after primary admission. A mean cost per patient was calculated based on patient-level hospital resource use. This included all procedures received during both their primary hospitalisation and subsequent re-admissions.

Results: Approximately equal numbers of males and females (mean age 46.2 years) were admitted, and males were significantly younger than females. The mean length of stay was 10.8 days (SD 9.1); however, ORIF (which was performed in the vast majority of cases, 94.7%) was associated with a much shorter mean length of stay compared with external fixation (10.4 days; SD 8.9 vs. 17.4 days; SD 10.2). The mean total hospital cost per patient including was £4730.28 (SD £2340.73) with a higher mean cost for those who received external fixation as the primary procedure (£9453.92; SD £3391.84) compared with ORIF (£4465.76; SD £1965.10). Patients with severe health problems had significantly higher costs than fit and healthy patients (£5982.65; SD £28 77.74 vs. £4375.00; SD £1957.65).

Conclusions: The results highlight the considerable hospital costs associated with the surgical fixation of an ankle fracture, thus providing valuable information for resource planners. Future research should broaden the perspective of the economic analysis to include rehabilitation costs and assess the cost-effectiveness of potential cost-saving strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ankle Injuries / economics*
  • Ankle Injuries / surgery
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation / economics*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / economics
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fractures, Bone / economics*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery
  • Hospital Costs*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • State Medicine / economics*
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult