Archive | July 2018

Gait Mechanics After ACL Reconstruction Differ According to Medial Meniscal Treatment

Knee osteoarthritis risk is high after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and arthroscopic meniscal surgery, and higher among individuals who undergo both.

Full article: https://bit.ly/2LPna91

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Preop Opioid Use Associated with Higher Readmission and Revision Rates after TJA

Prescription opioid use is epidemic in the U.S. Recently, an association was demonstrated between preoperative opioid use and increased health-care utilization following abdominal surgeries. #JBJSInfographics #visualabstract #JBJS

Full article: https://bit.ly/2uVhwfl

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JBJS 100: Gait Initiation, ACL Replacement

JBJS 100Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal was Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.

Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.

Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered “activity” on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are two more:

The Initiation of Gait
R A Mann, J L Hagy, V White, D Liddell: JBJS, 1979 March; 61 (2): 232
Using electromyography and force-plate data, this study of 10 healthy men and women revealed that the deceptively simple motion of taking the first step from a standing position is initiated by the unbalanced body harnessing complex neural mechanisms, muscular activity, and biomechanical forces. The findings can inform today’s efforts to prevent falls among the elderly.

Replacement of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament using a Patellar Tendon Allograft
S P Arnoczky, R F Warren, M A Ashlock: JBJS, 1986 January; 68 (3): 376
Fresh or deep-frozen? That was the question researchers asked in this study of 25 dogs whose patellar tendons were replaced with one of these two types of allografts. The fresh allografts incited a marked inflammatory and rejection response, while the deep-frozen allografts appeared to be benign and behaved comparably to autogenous patellar tendon grafts. In the 30-plus years since this 1986 study, we have learned a lot about the immunogenicity and biologic character of transplanted allografts, and this important research continues.

Clinical Conversations: Beyond the Article

Article Title for OBuzz

Words are powerful. That is why it is so important for consumers of medical research to completely and thoughtfully read and evaluate the literature. Without a thorough understanding of methods, statistics, and clinical context, it is easy for a casual reader (e.g., one who scans abstracts) to make misguided conclusions based on an article’s findings—or even its title.

That concern is a large part of what Hensley et al. state in their September 21, 2017 eLetter in response to the Austin et al. study that appeared in the April 19, 2017 edition of JBJS. While many of the points made in the eLetter are valid, they itemize limitations that most readers should be able to identify during a careful reading of the article. Could the wording of the original article by Austin et al.—especially the title—have been adjusted? Sure, but all orthopaedic researchers want their results to be as impactful as possible, and they therefore will occasionally title their article to highlight the point they find most important. Sometimes (but not always) reviewers and/or editors will ask that certain phrasing be modified to avoid possible misinterpretation by readers.

The bottom line is that it is up to individual readers to critically evaluate the methods, data, and statistics to form their own conclusions from the articles they read. Hensley et al. wanted more data to review and clearly felt more context could have been placed in the paper. They read the article, looked at the data, and developed their own conclusions. I am thankful that they took the time to let the orthopaedic community be privy to their thoughts.

I am equally grateful that Austin et al. took the time to comprehensively address the eLetter by Hensley et al. Taken together, these thoughtful responses to well-conducted original research represent the best in respectful “clinical conversations” that help ensure optimal orthopaedic care for our patients.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

PRP for Tennis Elbow: What’s the “Secret Sauce”?

Tennis Elbow Image for OBuzzThis post comes from Fred Nelson, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopedics at Henry Ford Hospital and a clinical associate professor at Wayne State Medical School. Some of Dr. Nelson’s tips go out weekly to more than 3,000 members of the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), and all are distributed to more than 30 orthopaedic residency programs. Those not sent to the ORS are periodically reposted in OrthoBuzz with the permission of Dr. Nelson. 

There are many suggested applications for platelet-rich plasma (PRP), including tendon repair, osteoarthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. However there is considerable controversy in the absence of convincing evidence about the optimal mix and concentration of white blood cells and platelets in PRP, and the most clinically effective nature and quantity of constituent cytokines or other biochemical agents in PRP.

Despite these lingering questions, PRP is commonly used to treat lateral epicondylitis (LE), commonly called “tennis elbow.” As with its other applications, the clinical use of PRP for painful tendons has received much attention, but its efficacy remains controversial.

To continue investigating the clinical effects of PRP and its individual components, researchers recruited 156 patients with LE and randomly divided them into those treated with a single injection of 2-mL autologous PRP and those who received only physical therapy without injection.1 Both groups used a tennis elbow strap and performed stretching and strengthening exercises for 24 weeks, at which point pain and functional improvements were assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS), Modified Mayo Clinic Performance Index for the elbow, and MRI. Levels of platelet-derived growth factor-AB (PDGF-AB), PDGF-BB, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), vascular endothelial growth factor, epithelial growth factor, and interleukin-1 β in the PRP were measured for statistical correlation with clinical scores.

At 24 weeks, all pain and functional variables—including VAS score, Mayo Clinic performance scores, and MRI grade—improved significantly in the PRP group, relative to the noninjection group (p < 0.05). The TGF-β level in the PRP significantly correlated with Mayo Clinic performance score and MRI grade improvement.

The PRP level of TGF-β appears to be important in tendon healing, but future studies will be required to determine the best relative concentrations of white blood cells and platelets that deliver specific cytokines such as TGF-β. However, these results help identify a viable protocol for measuring PRP efficacy in tendinopathies.

Reference

  1. Lim W, Park SH, Kim B, Kang SW, Lee JW, Moon YL. Relationship of cytokine levels and clinical effect on platelet-rich plasma-treated lateral epicondylitis. J Orthop Res. 2018 Mar;36(3):913-920. doi: 10.1002/jor.23714. Epub 2017 Sep 20. PMID: 28851099

What’s New in Orthopaedic Trauma 2018

Trauma Image for OBuzzEvery 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, Niloofar Dehghan, MD, co-author of the July 5, 2018 Specialty Update on Orthopaedic Trauma, selected the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 32 studies summarized in the Specialty Update.

Clavicle Fractures
–Findings from a multicenter randomized trial comparing open reduction/internal fixation with nonoperative treatment for acute, displaced, distal-third clavicle fractures1 included the following:

  • No between-group differences in DASH and Constant scores at 1 year post-injury
  • Higher rates of nonunion and malunion in the nonoperative group
  • Similar rates of secondary surgical procedures in the two groups

Despite no significant differences in functional outcomes between the two groups, primary fixation of these fractures reduced the risk of nonunion and malunion and decreased the magnitude of secondary procedures.

Humerus Fractures
–A retrospective cohort study of 84 patients with nonoperatively treated humerus shaft fractures2 showed fracture union in 87% of the cohort at a mean of 18 weeks. However, researchers found that if physical examination at 6 weeks after injury revealed motion at the fracture site, progression to fracture union was unlikely. They concluded that results from clinical examination of fracture motion at 6 weeks could help patients and physicians with shared decision-making regarding the appropriateness of transitioning to surgical fixation

Syndesmotic Ankle Injuries
–A randomized controlled trial compared outcomes between a suture button and 1 quadricortical syndesmotic screw in patients undergoing syndesmosis fixation. After 2 years, patients in the suture button group had higher AOFAS ankle scores, higher Olerud-Molander ankle scores, and a lower rate of tibiofibular widening of ≥2 mm than the syndesmotic screw group. Findings also favored the suture button group in terms of symptomatic recurrent syndesmotic diastasis.

–A similar randomized trial compared suture button fixation with screw fixation using two 3.5-mm cortical screws.3 There were no between-group differences in functional outcomes, but the rates of malreduction and unplanned reoperations were higher in the screw group. The suture button group had greater syndesmosis diastasis and less fibular medialization.

Blood Loss Management
–In a randomized trial comparing transfusion rates among 138 patients who underwent arthroplasty for low-energy femoral neck fractures,4 researchers found no significant differences among those treated with tranexamic acid versus those treated with placebo. However, tranexamic acid reduced the amount transfused by 305 mL. There were no between-group differences in adverse events at 30 and 90 days.

References

  1. Canadian Orthopaedic Trauma Society, Hall J, Dehghan N, Schemitsch EH, Nauth A, Korley R, McCormack R, Guy P, Papp S, McKee MD. Operative vs nonoperative treatment of acute displaced distal clavicle fractures: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Read at the Orthopaedic Trauma Association 33rd Annual Meeting; 2017 Oct 11-14; Vancouver, Canada. Paper no. 4.
  2. Driesman AS, Fisher N, Karia R, Konda S, Egol KA. Fracture site mobility at 6 weeks after humeral shaft fracture predicts nonunion without surgery. J Orthop Trauma.2017 Dec;31(12):657-62.
  3. Canadian Orthopaedic Trauma Society, Sanders D, Schneider P, Tieszer C, Lawendy AR, Taylor M. Improved reduction of the tibiofibular syndesmosis with TightRope compared to screw fixation: results of a randomized controlled study. Read at the Orthopaedic Trauma Association 33rd Annual Meeting; 2017 Oct 11-14; Vancouver, Canada.
  4. Watts CD, Houdek MT, Sems SA, Cross WW, Pagnano MW. Tranexamic acid safely reduced blood loss in hemi- and total hip arthroplasty for acute femoral neck fracture: a randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Trauma.2017 Jul;31(7):345-51.

Prescribing Opioids: Smallest Dose for Shortest Time

Opioid for OBuzzSome people are tired of reading and hearing about the opioid crisis in America. When this topic comes up at meetings, there are rumblings in the crowd. When it’s brought up during hospital safety briefings, there are not-so-subtle eye-rolls, and occasionally I hear frank assertions of “enough already” when new information on the topic appears in the literature. Yet, as two studies in the July 18, 2018 edition of JBJS highlight, this topic is not going away any time soon. And for good reason. We are only starting to scratch the surface of the serious unintended consequences—beyond the risk of addiction—from overly aggressive prescribing and consumption of narcotics.

The first article, by Zhu et al., directly addresses the topic of overprescribing by doctors in China. The authors evaluated how many opioid pills were given to patients who sustained fractures that were treated nonoperatively. The mean number of opioid pills patients reported consuming (7.2) was less than half the mean number prescribed (14.7). More than 70% of patients did not consume all the opioid pills they were prescribed, and 10% of patients consumed no opioids at all. Zhu et al. conclude that “if opioids are used [in this setting], surgeons should prescribe the smallest dose for the shortest time after considering the injury location and type of fracture or dislocation.”

The second article, by Weick et al., underscores the patient-outcome and societal impact of opioid use prior to total hip and knee arthroplasty. Patients from North America who consumed opioids for 60+ days prior to their joint replacement had a significantly increased risk of revision at both the 1-year and 3-year postoperative follow-ups, compared to similar patients who were opioid-naïve before surgery. Similarly, patients who used opioids for 60+ days prior to undergoing a total hip or knee arthroplasty had a significantly increased risk of 30-day readmission, compared to patients who were opioid-naïve.  All these differences held when the authors made adjustments for patient age, sex, and comorbidities—meaning that tens of thousands of patients each year can expect to have worse outcomes (and add a large cost burden to the health care system) simply by being on opioid medications for two months preoperatively.

These articles address two very different research questions in two very different regions of the world,  but they help expose the chasm in our knowledge surrounding opioid use and misuse. We have been prescribing patients more narcotics than they need while just starting to recognize the importance of minimizing opioid use preoperatively in an effort to maximize surgical outcomes. These two competing impulses emphasize why further opioid-related studies are important.  While continuing to look at the negative effects these medications can have on patients, we have to take a hard look at our contribution to the problem.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

The True “Bottom Line” for Advanced Technology: Patient Outcomes

distal radial malunion for OBuzzOrthopaedic surgery has been blessed with an explosion of diagnostic and therapeutic technology over the last several decades. Improvements in advanced imaging, minimally invasive surgical techniques, and biomaterials and implant design have resulted in both perceived and objectively measurable patient benefits. In many cases, these benefits have been documented with patient-reported functional outcome data as well as improved clinical outcomes such as range of motion, strength, return to work, and pain relief.

However, some of these technological advances serve as expensive substitutes for many of the basic procedures that are universally available at a fraction of the cost, such as taking a thorough history, performing a complete physical examination, and employing basic and time-tested surgical techniques when indicated. While new minimally invasive techniques and computer-assisted preoperative planning are impressive in many respects, it is important to remember the ultimate goal of any orthopaedic operation: improving the patient’s musculoskeletal function.

In the July 18. 2018 issue of The Journal, Buijze et al. examine results from a multicenter randomized trial that compared patient-reported outcomes after using either 2-dimensional (standard radiographs) or 3-dimensional (CT with computer assistance) planning for corrective osteotomy in patients with a distal radial malunion. Although post-hoc analysis revealed that this study was underpowered, the patient-reported outcomes (as measured by DASH and PRWE) were not significantly different between the two preoperative planning groups.

These findings do not mean that advanced technology does not have a place in preoperative planning, but for me the findings emphasize that the most important factors in any orthopaedic surgery are the surgeon’s judgment, skill, and experience. When a surgeon needs assistance maximizing one of those three variables, more advanced technologies may play a role in improving patient outcome. For example, among less experienced surgeons, I suspect that more detailed preoperative planning for a relatively uncommon procedure would improve patient outcome, but it would probably have little impact on the results of procedures performed by more experienced surgeons.

The authors of this study focus on the true bottom line for any surgical intervention: patient outcome. But the other bottom line must also be considered. With the per-procedure incremental cost of 3-D planning and patient-specific surgical guides for upper-extremity deformity corrections estimated to range between $2,000 and $4,000, we must continue to conduct this type of Level I research. For the days of laying one “advance” on top of another with no attention paid to the cost for individual patients and the overall system are long gone.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

What’s New in Spine Surgery 2018, Part II

Spine_Graphic for OBuzz

Previously, Chad A. Krueger, MD, JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media, selected what he deemed to be the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 25 studies cited in the June 20, 2018 Specialty Update on Spine Surgery.  In this OrthoBuzz post, Theodore J. Choma, MD, author of the Specialty Update on Spine Surgery, selected his “top five.”

Spondylolisthesis
–A registry study of 765 patients with adult isthmic spondylolisthesis and at least 2 years of post-treatment outcome data found that at 1 year, global-assessment improvements were reported in 54% of patients who underwent uninstrumented posterolateral fusion, 68% of patients who underwent instrumented posterolateral fusion, and 70% of patients who underwent interbody fusion. Although similar patterns were seen in VAS back pain scores and in 2-year data, fusion with instrumentation was associated with a higher risk of reoperation.

Acute Low Back Pain
–In a cost analysis using data from a previously published Level-II study that randomized 220 patients with acute low back pain to early physical therapy or usual (delayed-referral) care, authors concluded that the incremental cost of early PT was $32,058 per quality-adjusted life year and that early PT is therefore cost-effective.1

Metabolic Bone Disease
–A randomized trial of 66 women ≥50 years of age who had osteoporosis and had undergone lumbar interbody arthrodesis found that those who received once-weekly teriparatide for 6 months following surgery demonstrated higher fusion rates than those in the control cohort (69% versus 35%). Once weekly teriparatide may be worth considering to improve fusion rates in this challenging patient population.

Adult Deformity Correction
–To test the hypothesis that performing 3-column osteotomies more caudally in the lumbar spine might improve sagittal malalignment correction, authors analyzed 468 patients from a spine deformity database who underwent 3-column osteotomies.2 The mean resection angle was 25.1° and did not vary by osteotomy level. No variations were found in the amount of sagittal vertical axis or pelvic tilt correction, but lower-level osteotomies were associated with more frequent pseudarthroses and postoperative motor deficits.

Spinal Cord Injury
–Authors directly measured the mean arterial pressure and cerebrospinal fluid pressure in 92 consecutive patients with traumatic spinal cord injury. Using that data to indirectly monitor the patients’ spinal cord perfusion pressure,3 the authors found that patients who experienced more episodes of spinal cord perfusion pressures <50 mm Hg were less likely to manifest objective improvements in spinal cord function.

References

  1. Fritz JM, Kim M, Magel JS, Asche CV. Cost-effectiveness of primary care management with or without early physical therapy for acute low back pain: economic evaluation of a randomized clinical trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976).2017 Mar;42(5):285-90.
  2. Ferrero E, Liabaud B, Henry JK, Ames CP, Kebaish K, Mundis GM, Hostin R, Gupta MC, Boachie-Adjei O,Smith JS, Hart RA, Obeid I, Diebo BG, Schwab FJ, Lafage V. Sagittal alignment and complications following lumbar 3-column osteotomy: does the level of resection matter?J Neurosurg Spine. 2017 Nov;27(5):560-9. Epub 2017 Sep 8.
  3. Squair JW, Bélanger LM, Tsang A, Ritchie L, Mac-Thiong JM, Parent S, Christie S, Bailey C, Dhall S, Street J,Ailon T, Paquette S, Dea N, Fisher CG, Dvorak MF, West CR, Kwon BK. Spinal cord perfusion pressure predicts neurologic recovery in acute spinal cord injury. 2017 Oct 17;89(16):1660-7. Epub 2017 Sep 15.

Immobilization after Fixation of Distal Radial Fractures

short arm castOrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Matthew Herring, MD, in response to a recent study in JBJS.

Postoperative immobilization after internal fixation of fractures is common practice. However, immobilization after locked volar plate fixation of distal radial fractures may actually thwart our patients’ rehabilitation—at least in the short term. So suggest the findings from Watson et al. in the July 5, 2018 issue of JBJS.

The authors randomized 133 patients who underwent locked volar plate fixation of distal radial fractures to 1, 3, or 6 weeks of postoperative immobilization. All patients were placed into volar splints postoperatively. After 1 week, splints were removed entirely or converted to short-arm circumferential casts based on the patient’s allocation. All patients started physical therapy within 3 days of definitive splint or cast removal.

Outcomes were evaluated at 6, 12, and 26 weeks and included patient-reported measures (PRWE, VAS pain scores, and DASH), active wrist range of motion, and postoperative complications. Six weeks following surgery, the results favored 1 or 3 weeks of immobilization over 6 weeks of casting in terms of improved patient-reported outcomes and objective wrist range of motion. However, those between-group differences disappeared at 12 and 26 weeks of follow-up. No significant differences were found in complication rates between the 3 groups.

For me, the primary message of this article is that early mobilization after distal radial fracture fixation offers improved short-term outcomes with little or no risk of adverse effects. For most patients, a major goal of fracture treatment is to restore normal function as quickly as possible. With early mobilization, patients reported less pain and less disability, and they demonstrated greater range of motion at 6 weeks.

However, the quick restoration of function must be done safely and without complications. In this cohort, 6 patients lost fracture reduction—5 in the 1-week immobilization group and 1 in the 6-week group. While that difference was not statistically significant, the study was not sufficiently powered to detect that difference. A quick power analysis, assuming an anticipated 11% loss-of-reduction rate as seen in the 1-week group and a 2% rate as seen in the 6-week group, estimates that 234 patients would be needed to confidently avoid a type II error when analyzing loss of reduction.

Translating findings like these into practice constitutes the art of medicine. It is probably safe, and perhaps even beneficial, to allow early mobilization of distal radial fractures treated with volar locking plates. However, there is probably a subset of patients who are at risk for losing reduction, and therefore it may be prudent to have a low threshold for keeping certain patients casted for a longer duration. The orthopaedist who extends cast immobilization beyond 3 weeks can take comfort in the findings that reported outcomes and range of motion in the 6-week-immobilization group quickly caught up with the results of the early-mobilization cohorts by 12 weeks after surgery.

Matthew Herring, MD is a fellow in orthopaedic trauma at the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the JBJS Social Media Advisory Board.