Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.
This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sanjeev Kakar, MD, the author of the March 16, 2016 Specialty Update on hand surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 30 he cited in his article.
–In the treatment of distal radius fractures, is volar plating superior to closed reduction and pin fixation? A prospective randomized trial of 461 adults with acute dorsally displaced distal radial fractures that were amenable to closed reduction found no clinically significant differences in Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation (PRWE) scores among those who underwent percutaneous wire fixation and those who underwent locking-plate fixation. The findings led the authors to conclude that when looking at functional outcomes, treatments other than plate fixation may suffice.1
–Authors of a cost and utility analysis of 268 patients with a surgically treated distal radial fracture concluded that the routine use of radiographs made at two weeks postoperatively is of little clinical benefit, except in cases of patients with high-energy intra-articular fractures or those who sustain an injury after surgery.2
–To challenge conventional dogma that the contralateral wrist of rheumatoid arthritis patients who undergo wrist arthrodesis must maintain motion in order for them to perform activities of daily living, a long-term study followed 13 bilateral wrist arthrodesis patients for an average of 14 years. The major functional limitations noted were turning a door knob and opening a tight jar lid. Increasing age, preoperative corticosteroid use, and concomitant shoulder or elbow disorders were associated with worse outcomes. Ninety-three percent of the patients expressed satisfaction and said they would repeat the bilateral procedure.3
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
–Should one perform staged or simultaneous carpal tunnel surgery? A cost-effectiveness study of simultaneous versus staged bilateral carpal tunnel release in 198 patients found that those who underwent simultaneous surgery had significantly fewer days off work and fewer postoperative follow-up visits, and they also incurred significantly lower costs in terms of mean amounts billed and fees collected.4
Trapeziometacarpal Joint Arthritis
–Is there an optimal suspension arthroplasty for the treatment of basilar thumb arthritis? A randomized controlled trial of 79 patients with trapeziometacarpal arthritis found that functional/clinical outcomes at 12 months were essentially the same between a group that underwent ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) and a group that underwent trapeziectomy and flexor carpi radialis weave around the abductor pollicis longus tendon. The notable exception was an improvement in PRWE scores at three months among those who underwent the LRTI procedure.5
- Costa ML, Achten J, Parsons NR, Rangan A, Griffin D, Tubeuf S, Lamb SE;DRAFFT Study Group. Percutaneous fixation with Kirschner wires versus volar locking plate fixation in adults with dorsally displaced fracture of distal radius: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2014;349:g4807. Epub 2014 Aug 5
- Stone JD, Vaccaro LM, Brabender RC, Hess AV. Utility and cost analysis of radiographs taken 2 weeks following plate fixation of distal radius fractures. J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Jun;40(6):1106-9. Epub 2015 Mar 31.
- Wagner ER, Elhassan BT, Kakar S. Long-term functional outcomes after bilateral total wrist arthrodesis. J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Feb;40(2):224-228.e1. Epub 2014 Dec 13.
- Phillips P, Kennedy J, Lee T. Cost effective analysis of simultaneous versus staged bilateral carpal tunnel release. Read at the American Association for Hand Surgery Annual Meeting; 2015 Jan 21-24; Paradise Island, Bahamas. Paper no. 104.
- VermeulenGM, Spekreijse KR, Slijper H, Feitz R, Hovius SE, Selles RW.Comparison of arthroplasties with or without bone tunnel creation for thumb basal joint arthritis: a randomized controlled trial. J Hand Surg Am. 2014 Sep;39(9):1692-8. Epub 2014 Jun 10.