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Urban Bicyclist Trauma: Characterizing the Injuries, Consequent Surgeries, and Essential Sub-Specialties Providing Care

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In the United States in 2013, nearly 500,000 bicyclists were injured and required emergency department care. The objectives of this study were to describe the types of injuries which urban bicyclists sustain, to analyze the number and type of surgeries required, and to better delineate the services providing care. This is an observational study of injured bicyclists presenting to a Level I trauma center between February 2012 and August 2014. Most data were collected within 24 hours of injury and included demographics, narrative description of the incident, results of initial imaging studies, Injury Severity Score, admission status, length of stay, surgical procedure, and admitting and discharging service. A total of 706 injured bicyclists were included in the study, and 187 bicyclists (26.4%) required hospital admission. Of those admitted, 69 (36.8%) required surgery. There was no difference in gender between those who required surgery and those who did not (P = 0.781). Those who required surgery were older (mean age 39.1 vs 34.1, P = 0.003). Patients requiring surgery had higher Abbreviated Injury Scores for head (P ≤ 0.001), face (P ≤ 0.001), abdomen (P = 0.012), and extremity (P ≤ 0.001) and higher mean Injury Severity Scores (12.6 vs 3.7, P < 0.001). Sixty-nine patients required surgery and were brought to the operating room 82 times for 89 distinct procedures. Lower extremity injuries were the reason for 43 (48.3%) procedures, upper extremity injuries for 14 (15.7%), and facial injuries for 15 (16.9%). Orthopedic surgery performed 50 (56.2%) procedures, followed by plastic surgery (15 procedures; 16.8%). Trauma surgeons performed five (5.6%) procedures in four patients. The majority of admitted patients were admitted and discharged by the trauma service (70.1%, 56.7%, respectively) followed by the orthopedics service (13.9%, 19.8%, respectively). Injured bicyclists represent a unique subset of trauma patients. Orthopedic surgeons are most commonly involved in their operative management and rarely are the operative skills of a general traumatologist required. From a resource perspective, it is more efficient to direct the inpatient care of bicyclists with single-system trauma to the appropriate surgical subspecialty service soon after appropriate initial evaluation and treatment by the trauma service.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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