How Much Does an Infected Fracture Cost?



1 1 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Addenbrookes Major Trauma Unit, Cambridge University Hospitals, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, United Kingdom 2 School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, CB2 0SP, United Kingdom

2 Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Addenbrookes Major Trauma Unit, Cambridge University Hospitals, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, United Kingdom


Though infection is a common and costly complication following fracture, there is a scarcity of literature focused on the additional cost of healthcare when a fracture becomes infected. This literature review compiles existing heterogenous data to evaluate the cost of infected fractures, yielding an estimate of a 1.2-fold to six-fold increase in healthcare costs associated with infection. The increases in cost were largely driven by an increased length of stay. Factors which affect this increase include the infectious agent, the depth of infection and the location of the fracture. In order to reduce healthcare costs, early soft tissue cover and prophylactic antibiotics are effective in that they reduce the infection rates. An alternative approach is to reduce the length of stay, the key driver of cost, for example by reducing the length of inpatient antibiotic therapy. Further cost-utility analyses which focus on the same aspects of the healthcare costs are required for a more accurate estimation of the cost. Level of evidence: IV


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