Overlapping Surgery for Distal Radius Fractures: Is It Safe?


Patients who underwent distal radius fracture (open reduction and internal fixation [ORIF]) at a Level 1 trauma center deemed “overlapping” (greater than 30 minutes overlap) were compared against consecutive cases. Unplanned return to surgery within 1 year was the primary outcome. Sixty-two patients were included in the overlapping group and 37 in the consecutive group. There was no difference in unplanned return to surgery 1 year following procedure with three cases (5%) in the overlapping group and one case (3%) in the consecutive group. There was a significant difference (p = 0.02) in procedure time between the overlapping group (151 + 54 minutes) and nonoverlapping group (126 + 35 minutes). There was no difference in infection, readmission, nonunion, malunion, deep infection, or superficial infection between groups. Based on a post-hoc power analysis with p < 0.05 and power at 80%, 2,691 patients would be needed to determine if there is truly no difference between groups. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 31(2):127–130, 2022)

Key words: distal radius, graduated responsibility, overlapping surgery, resident supervision, graduate medical education

Jeffrey Klott, MD; Randall T. Loder, MD; and Brian Mullis, MD