Methamphetamines and Acetabular Reoperation Rates: Poor Outcomes From the Front Lines

Natalie L. Zusman, Erik Woelber, Natasha S. McKibben, David M. Gallacher, Austin R. Thompson, Darin M. Friess, Zachary M. Working

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To compare acetabular fracture reoperation rates within 1 year of surgery in methamphetamine (“meth”) abusers and abstainers. Design: Retrospective database analysis. Setting: Level 1 academic trauma facility, 2008-2018. Patients/Participants: Three hundred seventy-one patients who underwent unilateral traumatic acetabular open reduction internal fixation during the study period, 36 of whom abused methamphetamines through self-report or toxicology. One hundred four were excluded for indeterminate abuse histories. Intervention: Open reduction internal fixation. Main Outcome Measurements: Reoperation resulting from major surgical complications, including hematoma, seroma, deep wound infection, failure of fixation, or arthrosis with conversion to arthroplasty. Results: More than 10% of our cohort used meth, representing patients who were a mean 8 years younger and sustained a higher rate of high-energy mechanisms than sober peers. Meth abusers had a greater than 2-fold reoperation rate at 90 days and 1 year compared with abstainers (17% vs. 7% and 25% vs. 11%, respectively). The adjusted odds ratio of 1-year reoperation in meth users was 3.2 (confidence interval 1.2-8.5, P = 0.03). The adjusted 1-year survival of native hip after acetabular fractures in meth users approaches 55%. Conclusions: Methamphetamine use is a nonmodifiable factor associated with a 3-fold increase in adjusted odds for 1-year reoperation after surgical fixation of acetabular fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E491-E495
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Acetabular fractures
  • Methamphetamine
  • Reoperation
  • Surgical fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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