Current practice in the management of open fractures among orthopaedic trauma surgeons. Part A: Initial management. A survey of orthopaedic trauma surgeons

William Obremskey, Cesar Molina, Cory Collinge, Arvind Nana, Paul Tornetta, Claude Sagi, Andrew Schmidt, Robert Probe, Jaimo Ahn, Bruce D. Browner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objectives: Open fractures are one of the injuries with the highest rate of infection that orthopaedic trauma surgeons treat. The main purpose of this survey was to determine current practice and practice variation among Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) members and make treatment recommendations based on previously published resources. Design: Survey. Setting: Web-based survey. Participants: Three hundred seventy-nine orthopaedic trauma surgeons. Methods: A 15-item questionnaire-based study titled "OTA Open Fracture Survey" was constructed. The survey was delivered to all OTA membership categories. Different components of the data charts were used to analyze numerous aspects of open fracture management, focusing on parameters of initial and definitive treatment. Results: Eighty-six percent of participants responded that a period of time of less than 1 hour is the optimal time to antibiotic administration after identification of open fracture. Despite concerns with nephrotoxicity, 24.0%-76.3% of respondents reported the use of aminoglycosides in management of open fractures. A little over half of survey respondents continue antibiotics until next debridement in wounds that were not definitively closed after initial debridement and stabilization. Conclusions: Rapid administration of antibiotics in open fracture management is important. Aminoglycoside use is still prevalent despite evidence questioning efficacy and toxicity concerns. Time to debridement of open fractures is controversial among OTA members. Antibiotic administration is commonly continued >48 hours despite concerns raised by Surgical Infection Society and The Eastern Association of the Surgery of Trauma. Regarding study logistics, survey participation reminders should be used when conducting this type of study as it can increase data accrual by 50%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e198-e202
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Open fractures
  • Time to closure Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level V. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence

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