Measuring outcomes following tibial fracture

Injury. 2019 Feb;50(2):521-533. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2018.11.025. Epub 2018 Nov 12.


Aim: The aim of this study was to determine how outcome is measured following adult tibial fracture in the modern era of functional outcome measurement and patient reported outcomes.

Methods: A systematic review of publications since 2009 was performed, looking specifically at acute, adult tibial shaft fractures. Ovid Medline, Embase, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched for relevant titles which were then screened by two authors with adjudication where necessary by a third. Relevant articles were reviewed in full and data was extracted concerning the study participants, study design and any measures that were used to quantify the results following fracture. The results were collated and patient reported outcome measures were assessed using the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) standards.

Results: A total of 943 titles and articles were reviewed, with 117 included for full analysis. A wide range of clinical and radiological "outcomes" were described, along with named clinician- and patient-reported outcome measures. There was considerable heterogeneity and lack of detail in the description of the simplest outcomes, such as union, infection or reoperation. Reported clinician and patient reported outcome measures are variably used. None of the identified patient reported outcome measures have been validated for use following tibial fracture.

Conclusion: We recommend definition of a core outcome set for use following tibial fracture. This will standardise outcome reporting following these injuries. Furthermore, there is need for a validated patient reported outcome measure to better assess patient important outcomes in this patient group.

Keywords: Outcome score; Quality of life; Recovery; Tibial fracture.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / methods*
  • Fracture Healing / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Tibial Fractures / physiopathology
  • Tibial Fractures / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome