Orthopaedic surgeons must play an important role in the secondary prevention of fragility fractures; however, some surgeons are more aware than others of their responsibility regarding fracture prevention. The purpose of the present study was to identify which factors can lead to a higher sensitivity for fracture prevention.
A cross-sectional survey was distributed to orthopaedic surgeons via online invitation or at academic conferences in China from July through October 2015. A total of 452 surgeons responded. As the primary outcome measure, we created a sensitivity scoring system for fracture prevention based on the respondents’ answers to 5 questions regarding behavior in the following areas: risk-factor evaluation, pharmacologic therapy, nonpharmacologic therapy, patient education, and follow-up. Multivariable linear regression and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors related to surgeon sensitivity to fracture prevention.
Very few surgeons reported having received adequate training regarding fracture prevention or reading guidelines or other fracture prevention literature (22% and 30%, respectively). Most respondents initiated pharmacologic or nonpharmacologic therapy (82% and 75%, respectively) for the treatment of confirmed osteoporosis among patients with fragility fractures, but only half performed a risk-factor evaluation, patient education, or timely patient follow-up (51%, 52%, and 48%, respectively). In the multivariable linear regression model, the orthopaedic surgeon’s age (β = 0.09, p = 0.003), self-rated knowledge level regarding osteoporosis or related issues (β = 0.16, p < 0.001), self-perceived effectiveness in using preventive measures for patients with a fragility fracture (β = 0.62, p < 0.001), and use of clinical pathways for fragility fractures in his or her workplace (β = 1.24, p < 0.001) were independently associated with sensitivity scores for fracture prevention. Similar results were obtained from a multivariable logistic regression model.
In China, the sensitivity of orthopaedic surgeons to the secondary prevention of fragility fractures is relatively low. Implementation of a comprehensive prevention approach and targeted continuing medical education are required to encourage surgeons to take greater responsibility for screening, treating, educating, and following their patients with fragility fractures.
1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China
2Department of Spine Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China
3School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China
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*Jian Mo, MD, Kangmao Huang, MD, and Xumeng Wang, MD, contributed equally to the writing of this article.