Diabetes mellitus effect on rates of perioperative complications after operative treatment of distal radius fractures

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology




Comorbidity; Complications; Diabetes mellitus; Distal radius fracture


© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag France SAS part of Springer Nature. Purpose: This study focuses on distal radius fractures that require surgical treatment. Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) are at increased risk of bone fracture despite normal areal bone mineral density. The aim of this study is to identify the impact of DM on perioperative complications for patients undergoing operative treatment of distal radius fracture. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using data collected through the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. All patients who underwent operative treatments for distal radius fractures from 2007 through 2018 were identified. Data collected include demographic information, comorbidities, and complications occurring within 30 days of initial surgical intervention. The incidence of adverse events following surgery was evaluated with univariate and multivariate analyses where appropriate. Results: Patients with DM were found to have a low rate of complications postsurgical repair of distal radius fractures. Preoperative comorbidity analysis showed that the diabetic group had significantly higher rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, renal failure, steroid use, bleeding disorders, dyspnea, and poorer functional status. Diabetes was found to be an independent predictor for unplanned intubation, sepsis, and septic shock. Diabetes was not found to be an independent predictor of other postoperative complications. Conclusion: Complications after surgical repair of distal radius fracture are low except when it comes to reintubation, sepsis, and septic shock. While the risks of independent complications remain relatively low, diabetes remains an important factor to consider when selecting surgical candidates and to ensure appropriate pre-operative risk assessment.