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, 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.
–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.
–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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.