Archive | September 2019

Chicago Orthopaedic Surgery PGY1 Journal Club Commentary

I was pleasantly surprised and excited when I first heard about the citywide Chicago PGY1 journal club. This journal club was funded by the Robert Bucholz Resident Journal Club Grant through The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. The premise of this program was for all of the orthopedic surgery PGY1s from around the city to meet and discuss landmark articles specific to a certain orthopedic topic. The event that I attended was the first meeting of the program, and the focus of our discussion revolved around four orthopedic trauma articles. I recognized all of the articles as the guidelines established from these papers are still used in our trauma practice every day.

Although I knew the general principles derived from this literature, I found reading the full text beneficial as it helped provide a more thorough background into the reasoning behind the decisions we make in the management of various fracture patterns. What I found most educational however was the discussions we had with residents at various programs, specifically in regards to our institutions’ management of common orthopedic fractures. We each went around the table and discussed our ED management of injuries including humeral shaft fractures, femoral shaft fractures, open fractures, and our intraoperative technique for intramedullary nailing of tibial shaft fractures.

While there were small differences in our management of these injuries, we all seemed to abide by the general guidelines that were set into motion after the publication of these landmark articles. It brought into focus how influential this literature has been, and also gave me additional insight into possible alternative management algorithms that could produce similar outcomes. When working at one institution throughout your residency, that institutions protocols often become the “normal” for you. I now better recognize that it is important to keep an open mind and that there can be many methods to achieve a desired result.

Our meeting allowed for a low stress environment to both appreciate and constructively criticize how we think about orthopedic trauma. At our specific institution the discussion of articles occurs in a large group setting with attendings and senior residents, and usually focuses on more recent literature. I think it is essential to understand where we came from, and this citywide journal club provides that history while also encouraging open critical discussion. I think any junior resident would benefit from this type of educational open forum with their colleagues.

You can apply for your own Robert Bucholz Resident Journal Club Grant by clicking this link.

Jeremy Adler

Orthopaedic Surgery, PGY-2

University of Chicago

Elite Reviewer Spotlight: Antonia Chen

In celebration of Peer Review Week, JBJS is pleased to present the first in a series of profiles highlighting our Elite Reviewers. The Elite Reviewers Program recognizes our best reviewers for their outstanding efforts. All JBJS reviewers help us maintain the highest standards for quality orthopaedic publishing.

Name: Antonia F. Chen, MD, MBA

Affiliation: Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Years in practice: 5

How did you begin reviewing for other journals and for JBJS in particular?

As a resident, one of my attendings asked me to review for a different journal given my interest in research.   The guidelines for reviewers were incredibly helpful, and I initially spent days reviewing a study trying to critically analyze it and provide constructive feedback. Subsequently, I met Dr. Tom Bauer at a meeting, and given my research interests, he invited me to review an article for JBJS. It’s been an incredible privilege to review for JBJS, and the critical thinking skills developed as a reviewer have helped me become a better writer.

What is your top piece of advice for those reviewers who aspire to reach Elite status?

The more you practice reviewing, the more intuitive it becomes; try to do as many reviews as possible. I like to read an article twice – once to get the general gestalt of an article to understand if/how everything ties together, then a second time to critically analyze the article and try to find loopholes in the article. By doing so, I am able to understand the big picture before getting into the details of a manuscript.

Aside from orthopaedic manuscripts, what have you been reading lately?

I recently read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I have so many changes to make!

Learn more about the JBJS Elite Reviewers program.

Mehta Casting for Early-Onset Scoliosis: Predictors of Success

The treatment of early-onset scoliosis with Mehta casting is a long process, but if successful, it can delay or obviate the need for surgery. In the September 4, 2019 issue of JBJS, Fedorak et al. examine outcomes among 38 patients (mean age of 24 ± 15 months at time of first casting) who were treated with Mehta casting and followed for a mean of 8 ± 2 years. The retrospective review identified differences between patients who had a Cobb angle ≤15° (improvement group) at the most recent follow-up and those who had a Cobb angle of >15° (no-improvement group).

Forty-nine percent of children had achieved and maintained scoliosis of ≤15° at the time of the most recent follow-up, and 73% were improved by at least 20°, although 3 children ended up relapsing after meeting recommended criteria for discontinuation of casting. There was no significant difference in thoracic-height gain between the groups, demonstrating that even when scoliosis was not corrected, growth was maintained during cast treatment.

Patients in the improvement group had a mean age of 18.9 ± 12 months and scoliosis of 48.2° ± 14° at the initiation of treatment. Here are 3 additional factors that were associated with a greater likelihood of scoliosis of ≤15°:

  • A lower pre-treatment Cobb angle and traction Cobb angle
  • A smaller rib-vertebral angle difference on first-in-cast radiograph
  • A lower Cobb angle on first-in-cast radiograph

The authors note that although this study analyzed longer-term follow-up data than most other similar investigations, “treatment of early-onset scoliosis is not truly finished until skeletal maturity has been reached.”

Patient Discharge after Knee Replacement: How Soon Is Safe?

For most patients and payers, getting out of the hospital quickly after a knee replacement is very important. For orthopaedic surgeons, excellent patient outcomes are the top priority. The latest one-hour complimentary webinar from JBJS on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm EDT will reveal clinical practices that increase the odds of achieving both of those goals.

Co-authors Nelson SooHoo, MD and Armin Arshi, MD will explore data from their JBJS study comparing complication rates after outpatient and inpatient knee-replacement, emphasizing that outpatients must receive the same attention to infection prevention, thromboprophylaxis, and rehabilitation as inpatients.

Kurt Spindler, MD and Robert Molloy, MD will then delve into their JBJS study, which suggests that hospital site, surgeon, and day of the week are more accurate predictors of length of hospital stay after knee replacement than patient age, BMI, and comorbidities.

Moderated by Daniel Berry, MD of the Mayo Clinic, the webinar will also feature expert commentaries by Joseph Moskal, MD and Ronald Delanois, MD. The webinar will conclude with a 15-minute live Q&A session during which attendees can ask questions of all the panelists.

Seats are limited, so Register Now!

Plate–Tendon Contact: How Important Is It?

There are few things more discouraging for an orthopaedic surgeon than a late postoperative complication after what was an otherwise successful surgery. One such scenario occurs when patients who have undergone open reduction/internal fixation (ORIF) for a distal radial fracture subsequently experience a flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon rupture. While previous literature has suggested that plate positioning plays a role in that complication, no studies have evaluated whether newer plate designs decrease contact with the FPL tendon and therefore reduce the risk of rupture.

With that question in mind, Stepan et al. evaluated two cohorts of patients who had undergone ORIF for a distal radial fracture. In the September 4, 2019 issue of JBJS, they report on findings from 40 patients, 20 of whom received a standard distal radial volar locking plate, and 20 of whom received a plate designed with a distal cutout to afford the FPL more room to traverse.

Ultrasound analysis revealed that similar percentages of patients in each group had FPL–plate contact (65% in the FPL-plate group and 79% in the standard-plate group), and there were no differences between groups in terms of FPL tendon degeneration as seen on ultrasound. However, patients who received the FPL plate had significantly less of the tendon come in contact with the plate at 0° and 45° of wrist extension. The authors noted, however, that this difference may have been influenced by the fact that patients with the FPL-specific plate also had significantly lower volar tilt than patients with the standard locking plate. It is therefore not possible to determine whether it was the plate design or the bone position (or both) that led to these results.

It is also noteworthy that the two senior authors of this study work as consultants for the company that manufactures the plates that were evaluated. It is also important to note that because all the patients in this study were asymptomatic, further research is needed to determine the clinical importance of reduced tendon–plate contact area. We should temper our excitement about specially designed volar plates until we have more clinical data supporting their success in avoiding the problem for which they were designed.

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

Let’s Continue Improving Hip-Implant Longevity

In October 2017, JBJS published results from a 10-year randomized controlled trial by Devane et al. documenting the dramatic reduction in polyethylene wear in total hip arthroplasties (THAs) using highly cross-linked polyethylene (HXLPE). This followed decades of research documenting that wear debris was implicated in macrophage activity that was ultimately responsible for implant loosening. In the September 4, 2019 issue of The Journal, Hart and colleagues produce further evidence of the improved performance of HXLPE, this time showing revision rates among THA patients with osteonecrosis that rival the rates among patients with osteoarthritis.

In this matched cohort of 922 THAs performed from 1999 to 2007 that used an HXLPE bearing, the 15-year cumulative rate of revision was 6.6% among patients treated for osteonecrosis and 4.5% among patients treated for osteoarthritis (p = 0.09). There were no radiographic signs of component loosening in the entire cohort, and, despite a lower median preoperative Harris hip score (HHS) among patients with osteonecrosis, both groups had marked improvements in HHS score. These findings are especially noteworthy because patients with osteonecrosis typically undergo THA at an earlier age and have much higher functional demands than the typical 70- or 80-year-old osteoarthritis patient.

However, the 15-year revision rate—even with HXLPE—remains at 4.5% for osteoarthritis patients, which should provide impetus to continue our work identifying all possible factors and mechanisms that lead to THA revision. A partial list would include bearing-surface wear, reliability of implantation, biomechanics, biomaterials, and patient perception of postoperative pain. Also, in a subgroup analysis, Hart et al. found that the 15-year rate of any reoperation among osteonecrosis patients ranged from 0% for hips with radiation-induced osteonecrosis to 25% for hips with idiopathic osteonecrosis. These findings add to the list of factors for THA success that need further investigation.

The work list for improvements in THA will remain substantive for at least the next few decades, and we may never get to 0% revisions for all patients. But we have certainly demonstrated that our research can produce very worthwhile results.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief