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Keppler, Lena; Keppler, Alexander Martin; Ihle, Christoph; Minzlaff, Philipp; Fürmetz, Julian; Beck, Markus and Saier, Tim (2021): Patients with complex proximal tibial fractures overestimate the prognosis of their injury. In: European journal of trauma and emergency surgery : official publication of the European Trauma Society [PDF, 865kB]


PURPOSE To investigate, if patients with complex proximal tibial fracture have realistic expectations on open reduction and internal fixation. METHODS 114 patients (mean 49 years, SD ± 13) with closed AO-type B and C proximal tibial fracture were grouped (group B, respectively C). Prior to surgery expectations concerning knee function, pain, return to work/sports, and the risk for osteoarthritis was assessed with the Hospital for Special Surgery-Knee Surgery Expectations Survey (HFSS-KSE) and a non-validated ten-item survey. RESULTS 92% of patients expected at least an almost natural knee postoperatively. All items regarding restoring knee function were ranked to be at least important in both groups. 65% in group B and 47% in group C expected at most occasional pain. 83% in group B and 67% in group C expected full return to work without any limitations. Patients with low physical work intensity expected significantly shorter incapacity to work in both groups (7.8, respectively 8.9~weeks). 71% in group B and 60% in group C expected to return to sports with at most small limitations. 33% in group B and 22% in group C assumed risk for osteoarthritis will be prevented by surgery. CONCLUSION Expectations on surgery for complex proximal tibial fracture are high regardless of fracture type. The prognosis of many health and lifestyle domains was overestimated. The risk for osteoarthritis was underestimated. This study should sensitize surgeons to discuss realistic expectations. This may help to improve patient comprehension what leads to sensible expectations, resulting in improved patients´ satisfaction. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE IV. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER 14104, Date of registration: 06/2015.

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