Background: Minimally invasive percutaneous plate osteosynthesis (MIPO) and intramedullary nailing (IMN) are the two most commonly used methods for distal tibial extra-articular fractures; however, the ideal treatment is still on debate. The aim of this study was to compare MIPO and IMN in the treatment of distal tibial extra-articular fractures in terms of cost analysis according to health insurance records in Turkey.
Methods: The data of patients who underwent either MIPO or IMN for the treatment of distal tibial extra-articular fractures between 2013 and 2018 were analyzed in this retrospective study. Patients' clinical data, as well as the overall expenses from the first admission until return to work including hospitalization, and all outpatient controls had been reviewed from the hospital's billing department. The total amount of money paid per month by Turkish National Social Security Institution to the patient until the patient's returns to work were also recorded.
Results: 118 consecutive patients (35 female-83 male) with the mean age of 37.2±13.4 were participated to the study. IMN group consisted of 57 patients with a mean age of 36.7±12.8 years, and MIPO group consisted of 61 patients with a mean age of 37.8±13.6 years. No significant differences were observed between study groups in terms patients' age, gender, fracture classification (AO/OTA: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen/Orthopedic Trauma Association), soft-tissue injury (Tscherne classification), presence of type 1 open fracture, and presence of accompanying fibula fracture. There was no statistical difference between two groups in terms of pre-operative hospital stay (p=0.713). However, the mean length of hospital stay was significantly higher in the MIPO group (p=<0.001). The means of number of total outpatient controls, time to union, and return to work were also significantly higher in the MIPO group (p=0.005, p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively). The mean hospital cost until discharge and the mean total cost until return to work were significantly higher in the MIPO group (p=0.001 and 0.001, respectively). The mean total costs of hospital stay and outpatient controls were also significantly higher in the MIPO group (p=0.001 and 0.004, respectively). The mean implant costs did not significantly differ between groups (p=0.179).
Conclusion: According to the results acquired from the present study, IMN is a better option compared to MIPO for the treatment of extra-articular distal tibial fractures in terms of costs paid by the national health insurance in Turkey.