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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Purpose: To evaluate the objective outcomes in patients who had undergone hardware removal after ORIF of calcaneus fractures.

Materials and Methods: Between 1994 and 2002, 31 cases of hardware removal was performed in 30 patients (25 male, 5 female) with an average age at operation of 47 years (31 to 65 years) were reviewed. Patients’ demographic details were recorded including smoking habit. Fracture patterns were graded according to the Sanders’ classification with preoperative CT scans. The clinical result was assessed using Bristol hind foot scoring system. Serial radiographs assessments were also recorded.

Results: Average follow-up was 4.5 years. Average delay from time of injury to surgery was 12.4 days (range 5 to 24 days). 7 (23%)fractures were Sanders’ type 2A, 8 (26%)fractures were type 2B, 6 (19%)fractures were type 2C, 2 (6%) fractures were type 3AB and 8 (26%) fractures were type 3AC. Average time from surgery to hardware removal was 27 months (range 11 to 45 months). There were 16 smokers and 14 non-smokers. There were 5 deep infections and 3 superficial wound infections after ORIF of calcaneus fractures. 84% of the patients shown objective improvement following hardware removal at the latest follow-up. 2 patients had unsuccessful hardware removal due to dense scarring. No wound infections were recorded. Smoking habit had no significant bearing on the objective outcome improvement following hardware removal (p= 0.891), time from surgery to hardware removal (p=0.53) and wound morbidity (p= 0.4882). Objective improvement showed a statistically significant improvement in the Sanders’ type 2 compared with Sanders’ type 3 (p=0.015).

Conclusion: Removal of hardware is justified in symptomatic patients following ORIF calcaneus fractures. It results in an improved objective outcome and has a low complication rate. Hardware removal may be considered in cases of Sanders’ type 2 calcaneus fractures which are refractory to improvement.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.