Controversy persists as to whether Lisfranc injuries are best treated with open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) versus primary arthrodesis (PA). Reoperation rates certainly influence this debate, but prior studies are often confounded by inclusion of hardware removal as a complication rather than as a planned, staged procedure inherent to ORIF. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate whether reoperation rates, excluding planned hardware removal, differ between ORIF and PA. A secondary aim was to evaluate patient risk factors associated with reoperation after operative treatment of Lisfranc injuries.

Between July 1991 and July 2016, adult patients who sustained closed, isolated Lisfranc injuries with or without fractures and who underwent ORIF or PA with a minimum follow-up of 12 months were analyzed. Reoperation rates for reasons other than planned hardware removal were examined, as were patient risk factors predictive of reoperation. Two hundred seventeen patients met enrollment criteria (mean follow-up, 62.5 ± 43.1 months; range, 12-184), of which 163 (75.1%) underwent ORIF and 54 (24.9%) underwent PA.

Overall and including planned procedures, patients treated with ORIF had a significantly higher rate of return to the operation room (75.5%) as compared to those in the PA group (31.5%, P < .001). When excluding planned hardware removal, however, there was no difference in reoperation rates between the 2 groups (29.5% in the ORIF group and 29.6% in the PA group, P = 1). Risk factors correlating with unplanned return to the operation room included deep infection ( P = .009-.001), delayed wound healing ( P = .008), and high-energy trauma ( P = .01).

When excluding planned removal of hardware, patients with Lisfranc injuries treated with ORIF did not demonstrate a higher rate of reoperation compared with those undergoing PA.

Level III, retrospective comparative study.