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, David Teague, MD, co-author of the July 5, 2017 Specialty Update on orthopaedic trauma, selected the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 34 studies summarized in the Specialty Update.
A randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial1 failed to demonstrate improved functional recovery or accelerated radiographic healing with the addition of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) to the postoperative regimen of fresh tibial fractures.
Two studies support early weight-bearing (WB) after certain operatively managed lower extremity injuries, an allowance that may substantially improve a patient’s early independence. One randomized study2demonstrated that immediate WB after locked intramedullary fixation of tibial fractures is not inferior in union time, complication rates, or early function score when compared with a 6-week period of non-WB. The second randomized trial3 found early WB after select ankle fracture fixation (no syndesmosis or posterior malleolar fixation included) resulted in no increase in complications, fewer elective implant removals, and improved 6-week function, relative to late weight-bearing.
The addition of posterior fixation to anterior fixation for patients with anteroposterior compression type-2 injuries (symphysis disruption, unilateral anterior sacroiliac joint widening) improved radiographic results and led to fewer anterior plate failures.
Less femoral neck shortening occurred with cephalomedullary nail fixation devices (2 mm) than with a side plate and lag screw construct (1 cm) when treating OTA/AO 31-A2 intertrochanteric fractures (unstable, 3 or more parts) in patients ≥55 years of age, although functional outcomes were similar for the two groups.
- Busse JW, Bhandari M, Einhorn TA, Schemitsch E, Heckman JD, Tornetta P 3rd, Leung KS, Heels-Ansdell D, Makosso-Kallyth S, Della Rocca GJ, Jones CB, Guyatt GH; TRUST Investigators writing group. Re-evaluation of low intensity pulsed ultrasound in treatment of tibial fractures (TRUST): randomized clinical trial. BMJ. 2016 ;355:i5351.
- Gross SC, Galos DK, Taormina DP, Crespo A, Egol KA, Tejwani NC. Can tibial shaft fractures bear weight after intramedullary nailing? A randomized controlled trial. J Orthop Trauma. 2016 ;30(7):370–5.
- Dehghan N, McKee MD, Jenkinson RJ, Schemitsch EH, Stas V, Nauth A, Hall JA, Stephen DJ, Kreder HJ. Early weightbearing and range of motion versus non-weightbearing and immobilization after open reduction and internal fixation of unstable ankle fractures: a randomized controlled trial. J Orthop Trauma. 2016 ;30(7):345–52.
Recurrence rates after surgical treatment for hallux valgus (bunion) range from 4% to 25%. Findings from a study by Park and Lee in the July 19, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery suggest that non-weight-bearing radiographs taken immediately after surgery can provide a good estimate of the risk of recurrence.
The study analyzed proximal chevron osteotomies performed on 117 feet. At an average follow-up of two years, the hallux valgus recurrence rate was 17%. (Recurrence was defined as a hallux valgus angle [HVA] of ≥20°.)
Bunions were 28 times more likely to recur when the postoperative HVA was ≥8° than when the HVA was <8°. The HVA continued to widen over time in patients with recurrent bunions, but stabilized at six months in those without recurrence. An immediate postoperative sesamoid position of grade 4 or greater was also significantly associated with recurrence.
If future studies confirm their results, the authors believe that such data could be used “to suggest intraoperative guidelines for satisfactory correction of radiographic parameters,” and thus help surgeons minimize the risk of hallux valgus recurrence. Commentator Jakup Midjord, MD concurs, noting that non-weight-bearing radiographs can be “closely related to intraoperative radiographs, so we can modify correction as needed in the operating room.”
Osseous vascular anatomy has always been clinically relevant to orthopaedists, but its importance is sometimes overlooked. In the July 19, 2017 issue of The Journal, Rego et al. provide a precise topographic map of arterial anatomy in and around the femoral head.
Ever since Trueta’s classic work published in the British volume of JBJS in 1953, we’ve known that the terminal branches of the medial femoral circumflex system (also known as the lateral epiphyseal artery complex) supply blood to the majority of the femoral head. This information has proved critical in supporting treatment decisions for the management of femoral head and neck fractures. In those cases, surgeons typically perform ORIF through an anterior approach because it is remote from this posterior vascular supply.
The details in the Rego et al. study will help today’s and tomorrow’s arthroscopists more safely manage acetabular labral tears associated with cam deformities. In those settings, when increasing the “offset” across the femoral neck to decrease impingement, surgeons should limit the depth of bone removal to avoid injury to this important vascular network. Thanks to this study, operating surgeons now have precise anatomic information (albeit derived from non-deformed cadaver hips) with which to limit the risks of increasing the femoral head offset.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS.
Selecting and/or changing your electronic health record (EHR) system is an investment of time, money, and training. There should be a thorough vetting process in place so you can select the right technology for your practice. One of the many questions you should ask when evaluating an EHR for your practice is the system’s ability to capture and display data. Data capture and analysis are critical for many reasons, one of which is reporting for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
The Value of Structured/Discrete Data
You want an EHR system that can capture structured, actionable data and automate patient and regulatory compliance documentation in near real-time. It is crucial to focus specifically on what is known as “discrete” or “structured” data. The opposite of narrative data, discrete/structured data captures specifics from each patient encounter.
Structured data matters so much because it is mineable—that is, it can be uniquely identified retrospectively. Structured data is crucial for group analytics, research, and the imminent obligations, such as MIPS, that the government and payers are placing on orthopaedic groups.
To maximize financial success, your EHR system should automatically capture all the data you need at the point of care to build and report your composite MIPS score. Once you have this data, you need tools that can help you visualize and analyze it.
The Importance of Visible Analytics
Analytics tools in your EHR system should:
1) Comparatively benchmark your near real-time quality and cost data to those of your peers
2) Visibly illustrate financial information to improve your bottom line and operations.
It is essential for everyone at a practice to have access to this real-time comparative benchmarking of both quality and cost data to succeed under MIPS. The analytics tools should not only show individual clinician performance and practice performance, but also where you stand when compared to other orthopedic surgeons and practices.
Making your financials visible can aid in improving your bottom line and operations far beyond a MIPS score. Having peer-to-peer comparisons in real-time will give you the chance to make operational changes, if necessary, to improve your practice.
From patient check-in to discharge, your analytics tool should enable you to identify and track key clinical, financial and operational processes to uncover insights to help optimize your practice. For example, orthopaedists would undoubtedly benefit from analytics on the prescribing of high-risk medications such as narcotics, blood thinners, and NSAIDs. Ultimately, robust analytics capabilities can help you measure and enhance your performance by making high-quality medical decisions for your patients and keeping costs down.
Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS is the Medical Director of Orthopedics at Modernizing Medicine.
More than 900,000 patients every year undergo knee arthroscopy in the US. Many of those procedures involve a partial meniscectomy to address symptomatic meniscal tears. Surgeons “scoping” knees under these circumstances often encounter a chondral lesion—and most proceed to debride it.
However, in the July 5, 2017 issue of JBJS, Bisson et al. report on a randomized controlled trial that suggests there is no benefit to arthroscopic debridement of most unstable chondral lesions when they are encountered during partial meniscectomy. With about 100 patients ≥30 years old in each group, the authors found no significant differences in function and pain outcomes between the debridement and observation groups at the 1-year follow-up. In fact, relative to the debridement group, the observation group had more improvement in WOMAC and KOOS pain scores at 6 weeks, better SF-36 physical function scores at 3 months, and increased quadriceps circumference at 6 months.
The authors conclude that these findings “challenge the current standards” of typically debriding chondral lesions in the setting of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. They also surmise that, in conjunction with declining Medicare reimbursements for meniscectomies with chondral debridement, these results “may lead to a reduction in the rate of arthroscopic debridement.”
Are you confused and frustrated by Medicare’s Quality-Incentive Programs, such as the Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) program, and the Surgical Hip and Femur Fracture Treatment (SHFFT) model? If so, this webinar is for you.
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS) and the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) will host a complimentary LIVE webinar featuring the following speakers and topics:
- Brian McCardel, MD will discuss choosing MIPS-related quality measures, improving performance on those measures, and qualifying for bonuses.
- Thomas Barber, MD, FAOA will focus on managing clinical care including how to deliver low-cost high-quality care for high-risk orthopaedic patients.
- Alexandra Page, MD will discuss partnering with hospitals and post-acute organizations to improve patient care and reap financial rewards.
Moderated by Douglas Lundy, MD, FAOA, the webinar will include a live Q&A session between the audience and panelists.
People 100 years old and older—centenarians—make up only 0.02% of the current US population. Nevertheless, the number of centenarians is expected to increase five-fold by 2060. That is in part what prompted Manoli III et al. to analyze a large New York State database to determine whether patients ≥100 years old who sustained a hip fracture fared worse in the hospital than younger hip-fracture patients. The study appears in the July 5, 2017 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
Only 0.7% of the more than 168,000 patients ≥65 years old included in the analysis sustained a hip fracture when they were ≥100 years old. Somewhat surprisingly, centenarians incurred costs and had lengths of stay that were similar to those of the younger patients. However, despite those similarities, centenarians had a significantly higher in-hospital mortality rate than the younger patients. Male sex and an increasing number of comorbidities were found to predict in-hospital mortality for centenarians with hip fractures.
Manoli III et al. also found that, relative to other age groups, centenarians were managed nonoperatively at a slightly higher frequency when treated for extracapsular hip fractures. For intracapsular fractures, an increasing proportion of patients >80 years were managed with hemiarthroplasty and nonoperative treatment. Finally, among centenarians, time to surgery did not affect short-term mortality rates, suggesting a potential benefit to preoperative optimization.
In 2015, JBJS launched an “article exchange” collaboration with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) to support multidisciplinary integration, continuity of care, and excellent patient outcomes in orthopaedics and sports medicine.
During the month of July 2017, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “An Integrated Model of Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorder.”
This clinical commentary explains how psychological and neurobiological factors interact with, and are influenced by, existing personal and environmental factors to contribute to the development of chronic whiplash-associated disorder.
In the world of total knee arthroplasty (TKA), the arguments about retaining the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) versus stabilizing the knee with posterior-stabilized components have raged for more than 30 years. The number of cohort studies and controlled trials attempting to clarify the issue have been too high to count. In the July 5, 2017 issue of The Journal, Vertullo et al. use the power of the Australian national joint registry to add additional important clinical information to the debate.
More than 62,000 TKA cases formed the substrate of this analysis. In a study-design twist, the revision-related outcomes were analyzed on the basis of the preference surgeons had for the two different design options, not on the basis of which prostheses were actually used. Consequently, there was a likelihood that the cohort of patients treated by surgeons who had a preference for posterior-stabilized designs would include some PCL-retained cases, and vice-versa. The authors claim that this “instrumental variable analysis” has “the capacity to remove the confounding by indication or disease severity against posterior-stabilized total knee replacements.” However, as with any registry study, there were still many confounding variables that could have influenced the revision rate, not the least of which is surgeon skill in component alignment and ligament tensioning.
Nevertheless, with selection bias minimized, Vertullo et al. found a real difference in revision rates favoring retention of the PCL. That finding does make biomechanical sense to this non-arthroplasty surgeon, who would expect less stress on the tibial component-bone interface at the extremes of knee motion with the PCL-retaining procedure.
Biomechanics notwithstanding, I think this very large registry-based arthroplasty study will influence the debate going forward, but I doubt it will end the debate or that it will change the TKA practices of many surgeons worldwide. For a more definitive and potentially practice-changing resolution to this clinical conundrum, we’ll need a very large (2,000 to 3,000 patients in each arm) international trial where surgeons and patients accept randomization between these two choices.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
The multifactorial pathogenesis of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) almost certainly involves the acetabulum, but previous studies about that relationship have been inconclusive. In the June 21, 2017 issue of JBJS, Hesper et al. report on a matched-cohort study that used precise measurements gleaned from CT to determine that acetabular retroversion—not acetabular depth or overcoverage of the femoral head—is associated with SCFE.
The authors carefully measured acetabular depth, head coverage, and retroversion in three groups of hips: the affected hips of 36 patients with unilateral SCFE, the unaffected contralateral hips of those same patients, and healthy hips of 36 age- and sex-matched controls. They observed no deep acetabula or acetabular overcoverage in the SCFE-affected hips, but they did find a lower mean value for acetabular version (i.e., retroversion) at the level of the femoral-head center in the SCFE-affected hips, relative to contralateral and control hips. The acetabulum was retroverted cranially in cases of severe SCFE compared with mild and moderate cases.
These findings support the hypothesis that SCFE-affected hips have reduced acetabular version, but the authors note that “additional studies will be necessary to determine whether acetabular retroversion is a primary morphological abnormality associated with the mechanical etiology of SCFE, or if it is an adaptive response to the acetabulum after the slip.” Either way, Hesper et al. conclude that their data “may help with planning treatment for patients with residual pain and limited motion related to femoroacetabular impingement after SCFE.