Comparing pediatric femoral shaft fracture repair patient outcomes between pediatric and non-pediatric orthopedic surgeons

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



European journal of orthopaedic surgery & traumatology : orthopedie traumatologie




Femoral shaft fracture; Non-pediatric; Open treatment; Pediatric; Subspeciality


INTRODUCTION: While pediatric femoral shaft fractures account for less than 2% of all fractures in children, they are the most common pediatric fracture requiring hospitalization. Management of pediatric femoral shaft fractures is challenging, with various treatment options relating to severity and patient age. The last few decades have seen an increased supply of pediatric orthopedic surgeons (POS) along with increased referral rates. However, there continues to be a maldistribution of POS throughout the country. This study sought to determine outcomes following femoral shaft fracture repair by POS compared to non-pediatric trained orthopedic surgeons. METHODS: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Pediatric database was queried to identify pediatric patients who underwent open treatment of femoral shaft fracture from 2012 to 2019. Differences in patient demographics, comorbidities, and postoperative complications were assessed and compared between patients who were treated by pediatric subspecialty-trained orthopedic surgeons and those treated by non-pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Bivariate and multivariable regression analyses were utilized. RESULTS: Of the 5862 pediatric patients who underwent femoral shaft fracture treatment, 4875 (83.2%) had their surgeries performed by a POS whereas 987 (16.8%) were operated on by a non-pediatric surgeon. POS were more likely to operate on patients with a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists classification (p < 0.001) and those with medical comorbidities, including gastrointestinal (p = 0.022) and neurological (p < 0.001). After controlling for baseline patient characteristics on multivariable regression analysis, patients treated by non-pediatric orthopaedic surgeons are at an increased risk of prolonged hospital stay (OR 2.595; p < 0.001) when compared to patients operated on by POS. CONCLUSION: The results indicated that patients undergoing surgical treatment for a femoral shaft fracture by a non-pediatric trained orthopedic surgeon were at increased risk of a prolonged hospital stay compared to those being treated by POS. Additionally, POS were more likely to operate on more difficult patients with increased comorbidities.


Orthopaedic Surgery