The current reference standard for the treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures is open reduction and internal fixation using an extended lateral approach. In the present retrospective study, we evaluated the results of a consecutive series of patients treated in the same fashion from June 2005 to September 2011 using a subcuticular single-layer closure technique. We also determined the risk factors for the development of wound complications and the rate of wound complications. Also, we assessed which patient, fracture, and surgical characteristics affected these complications. During the 75-month study period, we operated on 53 displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures in 50 patients using the extended lateral approach. The incision was closed using the subcuticular technique in 49 cases (92.45%). In the subcuticular closure group 2 (4.1%) deep infections and 2 (4.1%) superficial wound complications (1 dehiscence and 1 infection) occurred. Wound edge or flap necrosis was not encountered. The use of bone-void filler and the experience of the surgical team were significantly (p < .001 and p = .026, respectively) associated with the occurrence of wound complications. The subcuticular single-layer suture technique is a suitable closure technique in the treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures. It was associated with a low complication rate combined with the extended lateral approach. The effect of bone void fillers on the incidence of complications should receive more attention in future research. The association between wound complications and the experience level of the surgical team supports the need for centralization of this complex injury.

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Surgery and Traumatology
The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery
Department of Surgery

Schepers, T., den Hartog, D., Vogels, L., & van Lieshout, E. (2013). Extended Lateral Approach for Intra-articular Calcaneal Fractures: An Inverse Relationship between Surgeon Experience and Wound Complications. The Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery, 52(2), 167–171. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2012.11.009