Archive | May 2021

What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery 2021

Every month, JBJS publishes a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 14 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all such OrthoBuzz specialty-update summaries.

This month, co-author Timothy R. Daniels, MD, FRCSC summarizes the 5 most compelling findings from the >80 studies highlighted in the recently published “What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery.”

Telemedicine 

–With virtual foot and ankle examinations become more widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent paper on telehealth consultations offers guidance on preparing patients for the appointment as well as examination instructions that can be read by clinicians to patients and a checklist for medical record documentation1.

Ankle Reconstruction 

–Evaluating trends in foot and ankle surgery in Germany over the past decade, 1 study found that the volume of foot and ankle operations increased 39.5%, while the population increased 0.9%2. The volume of first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) arthrodesis and ankle arthrodesis rose 77% and 31%, respectively, whereas first MTPJ arthroplasty and total ankle replacement declined 48% and 39%.

Total Ankle Replacement 

– In a prospective series of total ankle replacement procedures in which a standard anterior approach or an extensile anteromedial surgical approach was used in patients at higher risk for wound complications, 17 (2.6%) of 660 patients had major and 39 (5.9%) had minor wound-healing issues3. All major wound complications occurred in the anterior-approach group.

Morton Neuroma 

–A recent study assessed the utility of preoperative imaging and intraoperative histopathology in Morton neuroma4. Among 313 suspected neuromas operatively resected during the 10-year study period, Morton neuroma was confirmed in 309 (98.7%) on histopathologic examination. The postoperative treatment course was not altered for any patient on the basis of the pathology report, challenging the cost and utility of histopathologic evaluation of resected neuromas.

Patient-Reported Outcomes 

–Another recent study investigated the question of whether sociodemographic factors impact PROMIS scores meeting the Patient-Acceptable Symptom State (PASS) among foot and ankle patients. The authors found that patients ≥65 years of age accepted more functional limitation than younger patients, patients in the lowest income brackets reported more severe functional limitations as satisfactory compared with patients in the highest income brackets, and patients in the lowest income bracket sought surgical care later than those in the highest income bracket5.

References 

  1. Eble SK, Hansen OB, Ellis SJ, Drakos MC. The virtual foot and ankle physical examination. Foot Ankle Int. 2020 Aug;41(8):1017-26. Epub 2020 Jul 8.
  2. Milstrey A, Domnick C, Garcia P, Raschke MJ, Evers J, Ochman S. Trends in arthrodeses and total joint replacements in foot and ankle surgery in Germany during the past decade-back to the fusion? Foot Ankle Surg. 2020 May 26 [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Halai MM, Pinsker E, Daniels TR. Effect of novel anteromedial approach on wound complications following ankle arthroplasty. Foot Ankle Int. 2020 Oct;41(10):1198-205. Epub 2020 Jul 18.
  4. Raouf T, Rogero R, McDonald E, Fuchs D, Shakked RJ, Winters BS, Daniel JN, Pedowitz DI, Raikin SM. Value of preoperative imaging and intraoperative histopathology in Morton’s neuroma. Foot Ankle Int. 2019 Sep;40(9):1032-6. Epub 2019 May 29.
  5. Bernstein DN, Mayo K, Baumhauer JF, Dasilva C, Fear K, Houck JR. Do patient sociodemographic factors impact the PROMIS scores meeting the patient-acceptable symptom state at the initial point of care in orthopaedic foot and ankle patients? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2019 Nov;477(11):2555-65.

“Normal” Ultrasound May Not Rule Out DDH Later in Childhood

Some years ago, we moved away from calling hip dysplasia “congenital” and started using the term “developmental dysplasia of the hip” (DDH). Indeed, it is developmental. As a surgeon specializing in pediatric orthopaedics and hip preservation, I see not only infants when DDH is of potential concern but also young adults with more mature manifestations of hip dysplasia not previously diagnosed or treated.

Screening protocols have successfully helped in the early identification of DDH and dislocation, but what is the likelihood that infants with risk factors for dysplasia but normal ultrasound results will go on to experience DDH in childhood? And which risk factors are predictive?

In a recent report in JBJS Open Access, Humphry et al. provide new insight into these challenging questions. This study from the UK included 1,053 children from a cohort of 2,191 children who had been assessed as newborns and had at least 1 of 9 perinatal risk factors for DDH. All had undergone ultrasound at a mean of 8 weeks and were followed clinically.

The mean age of the children in the current study was 4.4 years (range, 2.0 to 6.6 years). Thirty-seven of the participants had been treated for DDH in the postnatal period, predominantly with a harness.

Assessing the acetabular index (AI) on pelvic radiographs, the authors found that:

  • 27 of the children had “severe” hip dysplasia (an AI of >2 standard deviations above age and sex reference values). Girls were more likely to have this outcome. Only 3 of the 27 received treatment for DDH in infancy.
  • 146 (13.9%) of the children had an AI of >20°, only 12 of whom had been treated during infancy; 92% had no prior diagnosis of DDH. On multivariate analysis, female sex and breech presentation at birth were significantly predictive of this “mild” dysplasia (breech presentation demonstrated a nearly twofold increased odds of an AI of >20° at ≥3 years of age), while first-born status had a protective effect.

The findings of this study lend support to radiographic monitoring later in childhood for patients with risk factors such as breech positioning at birth. While the exact algorithm of ultrasound and radiographic workup still needs to be elucidated, it appears that a “normal” ultrasound in infancy does not necessarily rule out the development of hip dysplasia in children with select risk factors.

Matthew R. Schmitz, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

Multiligamentous Knee Injury May Not Be Synonymous with Knee Dislocation

Terminology is important in orthopaedics. When teaching, for instance, we stress the need for trainees to be able to articulate what a radiograph is showing using descriptive terms and classification systems.

Over the years, “multiligamentous knee injury” (MLKI) and “knee dislocation” have increasingly been used interchangeably within the orthopaedic vernacular, in part  because of the high energy required to sustain such injuries, but also because of the potentially devastating complications that can be associated with both.

Kahan et al. sought to better characterize these injuries and their associated complications in a study now reported JBJS. They retrospectively evaluated cases treated at their Level-I trauma center between 2001 and 2020.

A total of 123 patients with MLKI were included in the analysis: 45 patients with and 78 patients without a documented knee dislocation. MLKI was defined as disruption of at least 2 of the following: the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate, medial collateral, and lateral collateral ligaments. Cruciate ligament injuries and isolated injuries of the superficial medial collateral ligament were not included unless there was disruption of the posteromedial corner, semimembranosus, or medial patellofemoral ligament, indicating a more extensive medial-sided injury.

The investigators found that medial-sided injuries were more common in the dislocation group (53% vs 30%; p = 0.009), and the dislocation group had higher rates of peroneal nerve injury (38% vs 14%; p = 0.004) and vascular injury (18% vs 4%; p = 0.018). Of the 11 total patients with a vascular injury, 8 (73%) were in the dislocation group; 10 of the 11 underwent a vascular surgical procedure.

Not all cases of MLKI are a result of a knee dislocation, and in this adequately powered study, there were differences in the injury pattern and associated injuries between those with and without true dislocation. It is important to note that, although higher rates of neurovascular injury were seen in the dislocation group, such events also occurred in the group without dislocation, so a high index of suspicion must be maintained with these complex injuries. As the authors suggest, it may be better to consider cases of knee dislocation a subset of MLKI with the potential for increased neurovascular compromise.

Matthew R. Schmitz, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

 

 

 

Is It Time to Use Ultrasound in Diagnosing Zone-II Flexor Tendon Injuries?

OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. In response to a recent article in Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology by Bekhet et al., this commentary comes from Christopher Dy, MD, MPH.

In their study from Cairo, Egypt, Bekhet et al. report their experience using ultrasound (US) to examine tendon integrity in the setting of suspected flexor tendon injury. A single musculoskeletal radiologist performed diagnostic US in 35 patients with trauma to the ventral surface of the hand or wrist; a total of 50 tendons were evaluated, with zone-II injuries being the most common.

US correctly identified all complete tendon disruptions, with no false positive or false negative results. US identified partial tendon injuries with 98% accuracy, with 1 false positive result and no false negatives. In comparison, clinical examination alone had a diagnostic accuracy of 88%. The diagnostic performance of US in this study is impressive, and suggests that US may have a role in the diagnostic workup of patients with suspected flexor tendon injury.

While many surgeons still rely on physical examination, it is clear that clinical assessment alone is imperfect. An accurate, objective diagnostic test is desirable for determining the need for (and extent of) surgical treatment as well as in counseling patients. MRI has been suggested to fill this role, but it can be expensive and time-consuming. US is a natural alternative, but its usage in most practice settings (including North America) has been limited because of its operator-dependent nature. That is a key acknowledgment made by the authors of this study, which limits the generalizability and impact of their findings. As only 1 highly specialized radiologist performed the US examinations in the study, it is unclear whether US performed by a less-experienced sonographer would provide the level of detail needed to directly affect clinical management.

Further validation studies (both within the authors’ institution as well as in other centers) would provide important information to determine the utility of US in accurately diagnosing the location and extent of flexor tendon injuries.

In my practice, if there is doubt regarding the integrity of a flexor tendon, I have used US performed by a musculoskeletal (MSK) radiologist or a US-trained physiatrist to provide diagnostic clarity. Admittedly, if the US results do not match my clinical impression, I will either order an MRI or discuss surgical exploration with the patient. This bias in my decision-making process clearly demonstrates my belief that further work is needed to show that US can be used accurately and reliably. While the findings of Bekhet et al. are intriguing, the single-sonographer limitation leads me to question the external validity of their findings. Because of this, the findings of this study are not practice-changing. But I hope to be proven wrong!

Christopher Dy, MD, MPH is a hand and wrist surgeon, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and a member of the JBJS Social Media Advisory Board.

Large Lytic Defects Produce Spinal Kinematic Instability

With the increasing effectiveness of immunotherapy and chemotherapy, patients with metastatic disease are surviving longer in much higher numbers. For many primary tumors (lung, breast, thyroid), a common site of metastases is the spine, giving rise to concomitant concerns regarding spine stability and the risk of neurologic compromise.

In the May 19, 2021 issue of JBJS, Alkalay et al. report the results of an in vitro study in which they simulated osteolytic defects in 3-level thoracic and lumbar segments of cadaveric spines. The simulations involved 2 patterns of lytic defects previously reported to be associated with increased risk of pathologic vertebral fracture: anterior-column compromise (40% of the vertebral body) and anterior plus middle-column compromise (extension of the model to include the ipsilateral pedicle and facet joint). The spinal segments were kinematically assessed in axial compression and axial compression with a flexion or extension moment, with testing before and after lesion simulation.

The authors concluded that “critical spinal lytic defects result in kinematic abnormalities and lower the compressive strength of the spine.” With greater lytic involvement, significantly higher translational motion along all 3 anatomic axes, and higher torsional and lateral-bending range of motion under axial compression with both flexion and extension moments were demonstrated.

The precision of the model in this cadaveric study was excellent. And the clinical implications of the findings are real: increasing lytic involvement of the vertebral body along with the pedicles could indicate impending instability, with the potential for neurologic injury. These data will be useful for surgeons and patients when formulating decisions regarding the need for intervention with fixation to limit flexion/extension forces in order to reduce pain and neurologic involvement. Future clinical data on the impact of these decisions in terms of pain and functional outcomes will be very valuable as we seek to optimize treatment of our patients with spinal metastatic disease.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

 

Assessing the Value to the Patient of New Technologies in Anatomic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

The analysis did not identify evidence that the results of TSA were statistically or clinically improved over the 2 decades of study or that any of the individual technologies were associated with significant improvement in patient outcomes.

Read the full article here.

Loss of Supination Force with Partial Distal Biceps Avulsion

In the May 5, 2021 issue of JBJS, Tomizuka et al. report the results of mechanical testing in which they quantified the loss of supination and flexion strength after a series of surgical releases designed to simulate traumatic avulsions of the short and long head of the distal biceps tendon.

Reflecting on the clinical implications of their study, the authors note:

Partial tears of the distal biceps tendon can cause substantial disability, yet the mechanical effect of such ruptures is not fully understood. This study showed that a simulated complete short-head tear significantly decreased (p ≤ 0.043) the supination moment arm by 24% in pronation and 10% in neutral.

A mechanical case can be made for early repair of a partial distal biceps tendon tear when the rupture is ≥75% of the distal insertion site.”

Click here for the full JBJS report.

A JBJS Clinical Summary on distal biceps tendon rupture can be found here.

 

Functional Outcomes of Patients with Schizophrenia After Hip Fracture Surgery

Thirty-eight patients with schizophrenia were compared with 170 geriatric patients without schizophrenia who underwent a surgical procedure for a hip fracture.

Read the full article here.

Introducing the OrthoJOE Podcast: 2 Editors, 2 Coffees, and 2 Times the Evidence

JBJS EditorialPodcasts are an increasingly important mode of communication across many segments of society. Our field was perhaps a bit slow to catch on to this movement, but our attention has been awakened. In the Orthopaedic Forum section of this issue, Jella et al. evaluate the growth of podcasts over the previous 9 years within the field of orthopaedic surgery. Of the 94 podcasts that met the inclusion criteria, 62 remained active in the fall of 2020. The pace of introduction of new podcasts in our field has now reached 1 per month.

In collaboration with OrthoEvidence (www.myorthoevidence.com) and its Editor-in-Chief Mohit Bhandari, JBJS (www.jbjs.org) launched a new podcast in January 2021. We have named the podcast OrthoJOE, with the J coming from JBJS and the OE coming from OrthoEvidence. We find the name to be highly relevant, with both of us enjoying fresh coffee while recording these podcasts together every other Tuesday morning. The format of the podcast is highly conversational; some episodes are topical (for example, we recently discussed how our publications managed the explosion of submissions related to COVID-19), whereas others are based on new articles that have appeared in our own publications. The goal, however, is a simple one: to provide insights derived from evidence on top trending issues in OrthoEvidence and JBJS. Although Jella et al. found that 95.7% of active podcasts employ an audio-only format, we are in the process of creating a video version of the podcast that will be available on the JBJS and OrthoJOE websites. Our target audience is international, and our goal is to discuss topics that will be relevant to the worldwide orthopaedic community. As we evolve, we intend to invite guests to participate in topic-based discussions. We also plan to introduce a “mailbag” feature, during which we will discuss audience feedback regarding the opinions that we have expressed during previous episodes. You can listen to OrthoJOE at http://orthojoe.castos.com/ or subscribe through iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. We invite you to tune in and are interested in your feedback and ideas for discussion. Many thanks in advance.

Mohit Bhandari, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Editor-in-Chief, OrthoEvidence
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
Editor-in-Chief, JBJS