Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIMS: To describe a new objective classification for open fractures of the lower limb and to correlate the classification with patient-centred outcomes. METHODS: The proposed classification was investigated within a cohort of adults with open fractures of the lower limb who were recruited as part of two large clinical trials within the UK Major Trauma Network. The classification was correlated with patient-reported Disability Rating Index (DRI) and EuroQol five-dimension questionnaire (EQ-5D) health-related quality of life in the year after injury, and with deep infection at 30 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of a deep surgical site infection. RESULTS: A total of 748 participants were included in the analysis. Of these, 288 (38.5%) had a simple open fracture and 460 (61.5%) had a complex fracture as defined by the new classification system. At 12 months, the mean DRI in the simple fracture group was 32.5 (SD 26.8) versus 43.9 (SD 26.1) in the complex fracture group (odds ratio (OR) 8.19; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.69 to 12.69). At 12 months the mean health-related quality of life (EQ-5D utility) in the simple fracture group was 0.59 (SD 0.29) versus 0.56 (SD 0.32) in the complex fracture group (OR -0.03; 95% CI -0.09 to 0.02). The differences in the rate of deep infection at 30 days was not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: The Orthopaedic Trauma Society open fracture classification is based upon objective descriptors of the injury and correlates with patient-centred outcomes in a large cohort of open fractures of the lower limb. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(11):1469-1474.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone Joint J

Publication Date





1469 - 1474


Classification, Open fracture, Outcome