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 Albert Gee, MD, a co-author of the April 18, 2018 Specialty Update on Sports Medicine, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 30 studies cited in the article.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction
–The conversations about graft selection for ACL reconstruction go on. A meta-analysis of 19 Level-I studies comparing 4-strand hamstring autograft with patellar tendon grafts1 revealed no differences in terms of rupture rate, clinical outcome scores, or arthrometer side-to-side testing at >58 months of follow-up. The prevalence of anterior knee pain and kneeling pain was significantly less in the hamstring group, and that group also exhibited a lower rate of extension deficit.
–Fourteen-year outcomes from a randomized controlled trial (n = 80 patients) comparing autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) with microfracture for treating large focal cartilage defects included the following:
- No significant between-group difference in functional outcome scores
- Fairly high treatment failure rates in both groups (42.5% in the ACI group; 32.5% in the microfracture group)
- Radiographic evidence of grade 2 or higher osteoarthritis in about half of all patients
These findings raise doubts about the long-term efficacy of these two treatments.
Rehab after Rotator Cuff Repair
–A randomized trial comparing early and delayed initiation of range of motion after arthroscopic single-tendon rotator cuff repair in 73 patients2 found no major differences in clinical outcome, pain, range of motion, use of narcotics, or radiographic evidence of retear. The early motion group showed a small but significant decrease in disability. The findings indicate that early motion after this surgical procedure may do no harm.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
–A systematic review of 105 human clinical trials that examined the use of PRP in musculoskeletal conditions revealed the following:
- Only 10% of the studies clearly explained the PRP-preparation protocol.
- Only 16% of the studies provided quantitative information about the compositi0on of the final PRP product.
- Twenty-four different PRP processing systems were used across the studies.
- Platelet composition in the PRP preparations ranged from 38 to 1,540 X 103/µL.
Consequently, care should be taken when drawing conclusions from such studies.
Meniscal Tear Treatment
–A follow-up to the MeTeOR trial (350 patients initially randomized to receive either a partial arthroscopic meniscectomy or physical therapy [PT]) found that crossover from the PT group to the partial meniscectomy group was significantly associated with higher baseline pain scores or more acute symptoms within 5 months of enrollment. Investigators also found identical 6-month WOMAC and KOOS scores between those who crossed over and those who had surgery initially. These findings suggest that an initial course of PT prior to meniscectomy does not compromise outcomes.
- Chee MY, Chen Y, Pearce CJ, Murphy DP, Krishna L, Hui JH, Wang WE, Tai BC,Salunke AA, Chen X, Chua ZK, Satkunanantham K. Outcome of patellar tendon versus 4-strand hamstring tendon autografts for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective randomized trials. Arthroscopy. 2017 Feb;33(2):450-63. Epub 2016 Dec 28.
- Mazzocca AD, Arciero RA, Shea KP, Apostolakos JM, Solovyova O, Gomlinski G, Wojcik KE, Tafuto V, Stock H, Cote MP. The effect of early range of motion on quality of life, clinical outcome, and repair integrity after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Athroscopy. 2017 Jun;33(6):1138-48. Epub 2017 Jan 19.