October 04, 2015
1 min read

No measurable clinical benefit likely in aspiration for ankle fractures

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Results of this randomized, double-blinded placebo controlled trial indicated aspiration of acute ankle fractures did lead to decreased patient pain or daily pain medicine use within 3 days after injury.

Timothy J. Ewald, MD, and colleagues evaluated 124 patients with isolated closed fractures who were randomized to undergo either aspiration or a sham procedure. Pain was scored using the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) when patients arrived at the emergency department and at 8-hour intervals for 72 hours. Investigators also recorded opioid pain medication use for 72 hours post-injury.

Results showed the study groups were not statistically different with regard to demographics and injury pattern. The NRS pain score at the emergency department arrival for the aspiration group was 6.5 and 5.9 in the control group. After discharge, the score was 3.7 for the aspiration group and 3.4 for the control group. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups at any point during the 72-hour period with regard to pain levels.

Investigators found the injured limb in the aspiration group was 12.9% larger than the non-injured limb. In the control group, the injured limb was 12.2% larger vs. the non-injured limb. Complication rates and reoperation rates were not statistically significantly different between the groups. The groups were also similar in regard to 6-month Olerud-Molander and Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment scores, according to researchers. “There were also no statistically significant differences in pain medicine usage within 3 days after injury,” they wrote. by Monica Jaramillo

Disclosures: Ewald reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a full list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.