J Wrist Surg 2022; 11(04): 330-334
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1739145
Scientific Article

Factors Associated with Timely Surgery for Semi-elective Distal Radius Fracture Fixation

1   Department of Academic Team of Musculoskeletal Surgery, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Joseph J. Dias
2   Department of Orthopaedics and Hand Surgery, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Background In the United Kingdom, national guidance recommends intra-articular distal radius fractures should undergo surgery within 72 hours and extra-articular fractures within 7 days.

Purpose We investigated if hospitals can provide timely surgery and meet national guidelines in patients who are sent home following distal radius fracture (DRF) to return for planned surgery. The influence of patient, hospital, and seasonal factors on wait to surgery are investigated.

Patients and Methods We reviewed Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data between April 2009 and March 2013. Proportion of procedures being performed within 3 and 7 days was calculated. A linear regression model was created to investigate the relationship between wait for surgery and patient and hospital factors.

Results A total of 9,318 patients were sent home to return for planned acute DRF surgery during the 4-year study period. Mean time to surgery was 3.04 days (range 1–days, standard deviation [SD] 3.14). A total of 6,538 patients underwent surgery within 3 days (70.2%) and 8,747 within 7 days (93.9%). Patients listed for surgery and sent home to return waited longer if listed toward the end of the week. Less surgery was performed at weekends, and patients were less likely to be listed for semielective trauma surgery.

Conclusions Acute semielective DRF fixation is generally performed within targets for extra-articular fractures but there is scope for improvement for intra-articular fractures. Day of presentation and increasing number of comorbidities increase wait for surgery. Hospital trusts should focus on improving pathways for patients with multiple comorbidities and strategies to improve accessibility of these services at weekends.


N.J. affirms that the manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported, that no important aspects of the study have been omitted, and that any discrepancies from the study as planned have been explained.

Publication History

Received: 09 June 2021

Accepted: 24 September 2021

Article published online:
18 November 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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