Is there a need for standardized postoperative radiographs after operative treatment of wrist or ankle fractures?

  • Florian Oehme
  • Björn Christian Link
  • Herman Frima
  • Tim Schepers
  • Steven J. Rhemrev
  • Reto Babst
  • Frank J. P. Beeres
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of changes in treatment plan due to standardized postoperative radiographs. A secondary aim was to compare our results with a national benchmark.


This is a single-center retrospective case series of 167 consecutive patients, operated with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) for distal radius or ankle fractures in 2014. Changes in the treatment protocol were defined as additional CT-imaging, reoperation or other changes as stated in the postoperative instructions. In addition, a national survey was conducted assessing differences between surgeons in different hospitals concerning revision rates.


In 7.2% (12/167) of the patients, a change in the treatment plan was recorded after the standardized postoperative radiographs. 10 patients (6%) were reoperated (three without additional imaging, seven after additional imaging with CT). The results from our survey showed a good assessment concerning the quality of intraoperative imaging (7.85 on a scale from 0 to 10). Concerning the revision rate, there was a trend to lower revision rate of 8.1% in the six observers.


Standard postoperative radiographs could improve quality of care. Intraoperative standardized radiographic documentation is needed and the perception and acceptance of quality may vary between hospitals.


Radius fracture Ankle fracture Postoperative radiograph Treatment plan change 



We would like to acknowledge N. Ruzza, C. Michelitsch, J.Winkler and M.Alnaib for their help and input.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

F. Oehme, B. C. Link, H. Frima, T. Schepers, S. J. Rhemrev, R. Babst and F. J. P. Beeres declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

No animals were included in this trial.

Informed consent

There was no informed consent requested in this trial. No personal or confidential data were included in this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic and Trauma SurgeryCantonal Hospital LucerneLucerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryCantonal Hospital GraubündenChurSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Surgery—TraumatologyAmsterdam Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryMedical Center HaaglandenThe HagueThe Netherlands

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