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Socioeconomic Disparities Exist in Treatment of Teen Femoral Fractures

Faculty and Student Researchers Found Those from Poor Socioeconomic Backgrounds Were More Likely to Experience Delayed Fracture Fixation

February 01, 2024
Sima Vazquez and Irim Salik
Sima Vazquez, M.S., SOM Class of 2024, and Irim Salik, M.D.

“Though it is recognized that prompt fixation of femoral fractures is associated with a shorter return to function, decreased hospital stays, and improved pain relief, in our nationwide analysis, we found significant disparities across race and socioeconomic statuses,” says Sima Vazquez, M.S., SOM Class of 2024, lead author of the study. “Even when controlling for injury severity the delay in treatment timing for those of poor socioeconomic status and a non-white race remained consistent.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed records of nearly 11,000 adolescent patients who underwent femur fracture repair throughout the United States from 2016 to 2020. Although femur fractures account for less than two percent of all pediatric fractures, they are the most common diaphyseal fractures and the leading cause of pediatric orthopedic hospitalization.

“Our study demonstrates that racial and socioeconomic barriers to high-value, high-quality healthcare access and treatment continue to exist in orthopedic care,” says Irim Salik, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and senior author of the study. “It is our hope that shedding light on these disparities will aid in the development of protocols for standardization of care for femur fracture patients, as well as improved provider education.”