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Pledge from JBJS Regarding Race-Based Inequalities

The JBJS Board of Trustees published a statement today that addresses the global COVID pandemic and the worldwide demonstrations against systematic racism. As an organization, JBJS has pledged to take the following actions to promote racial equality in health care and in other aspects of human affairs that we influence:

  • In addition to the >100 articles already published in JBJS that explore health care disparities, The Journal will now prioritize manuscripts that delineate solutions to these widespread inequities.
  • JBJS will continue to support initiatives that increase minority representation in orthopaedic surgery programs throughout the US—including minority members of academic faculties. We will also publish data on the results of those efforts.
  • JBJS will look inward to promote greater diversity within our own organization.

We hope the readers of JBJS and OrthoBuzz are also taking action in their homes, workplaces, and communities to ensure that all people are treated fairly and equally.

High-Level Clinical Research in Developing Countries? Yes!

Generally speaking, orthopaedic surgeons in low-resourced environments deliver the best care for their patients with skill, creativity, and passion. These surgeons are accustomed to scrambling for implants and other tools and to working around limited access to operating theaters and anesthesia services. Their everyday struggles usually leave little energy or time to even think about clinical research.

However, in the May 20, 2020 issue of The Journal, Haonga and colleagues prove that, with a “little help from their friends,” it is possible to conduct Level I research while treating patients in a resource-limited setting. They enrolled and followed 221 patients with open tibial fractures (mostly males in their 30s injured in a road-traffic collision) and randomized them to treatment with either uniplanar external fixation or intramedullary (IM) nailing. The nails were supplied by SIGN Fracture Care International, a not-for-profit humanitarian organization that provides specially designed IM nails that can be used without image intensification to hospitals in developing countries around the world. (See related OrthoBuzz post.)

The research was done in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in collaboration with trauma surgeons and epidemiologists from the University of California San Francisco, which has a long-standing relationship with Tanzania’s Muhimbili National Hospital. At the 1-year follow-up, there were no significant between-group differences in primary-outcome events—death or reoperation due to deep infection, nonunion, or malalignment. IM nailing was associated with a lower risk of coronal or sagittal malalignment, and quality-of-life (QoL) scores favored IM nailing at 6 weeks, but QoL differences dissipated by 1 year.

Just as important as the clinical findings, these investigators proved that it is possible to do high-level research in centers with high patient volume and limited resources. Future patients will benefit because the clinicians now have better information to share regarding expectations for functional recovery and risk of infection. Physicians and other healthcare professionals benefit because data like this help improve their analytical skills and become more discerning appraisers of the published literature. With strong internal physician leadership and a little outside support, Haonga et al. have convinced us that prospective—and even randomized—research is possible in these special places.

Finally, SIGN deserves our support as a true champion of orthopaedic surgeons working in under-resourced environments. In addition to providing education and implants, SIGN surgeons are required to report their cases through the SIGN Surgical Database—which encourages the research mindset and helps SIGN surgeons improve tools and techniques for better patient outcomes.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Virtual-Meeting Best Practices from OrthoEvidence

In addition to medical appointments between physicians and patients, many medical meetings and conferences have moved to online platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That prompted the OrthoEvidence team, led by renowned orthopaedic surgeon and researcher Mohit Bhandari, MD, to publish a 32-page, downloadable resource titled “Best Practice Recommendations for Virtual Meetings.”

The document—developed from extensive reviews of the literature and private and public-sector documents, consultation with experts, and stakeholder surveys—is designed to help guide healthcare and academic groups as well as policymakers and funders.

The guidelines are organized into 5 sections:

  • Preplanning Considerations
  • Planning
  • Accomplishing goals
  • Response
  • Engaging the audience for future activities

A virtual-meeting planning checklist, a helpful table of virtual-meeting platform vendors, and many other practical resources are included in the document’s 6 Appendices.

Platooning Orthopaedic Residents Amid COVID-19

Under the best of circumstances, an orthopaedic residency requires trainees and trainers to balance clinical work, surgical skills, didactics, and academic investigations. The global COVID-19 crisis is certainly not the best of circumstances. A fast-track article just published in JBJS explains how the urban, high-volume orthopaedic department at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta created a two-team system that helps residents keep learning, helps maintain a healthy workforce, and addresses the needs of orthopedic patients amid this unprecedented situation.

Emory is now dividing its orthopaedic residents into “active duty” and “working remotely” teams. In observation of the presumed incubation period of COVID-19 symptoms, transitions between active and remote activities occur every two weeks. A similar “platooning” system is in place for both faculty and administrators to safeguard a healthy network of leaders and command-and-control decision makers.

Active duty residents participate in in-person surgical encounters and virtual ambulatory encounters. Orthopaedic surgical cases deemed essential present an ideal opportunity for active-duty education, the authors observe, and there is also a role for supplementation of surgical education in the form of virtual reality or simulation training. Faculty members cover their in-person clinics without resident assistance when possible, but most musculoskeletal subspecialty visits can be performed with video-enabled telemedicine, and active-duty residents are part of these virtual clinic visits in real time.

Remotely working residents participate by videoconference in daily faculty-led, case-based didactics. The authors recommend virtually conducted one-and-a-half-hour collaborative, interactive learning sessions on predetermined schedules and topics. Each session includes question-based learning, facilitated with the use of an audience-response system. Remotely working residents also study for their boards and work on clinical research projects, grant writing, and quality improvement projects.

Finally, this team system, championed by strong departmental leadership, allows for isolation of any resident who acquires COVID-19, allowing them time to recover, while diminishing the risk of rapid, residency-wide disease transmission.

Rotator Cuff Conundrums: JBJS Webinar-Feb. 24

Rotator cuff tears account for an estimated 4.5 million patient visits per year in the US, which translates into a $3 to $5 billion annual economic burden. Add to that the pain and disability associated with rotator cuff tears, and it’s understandable that many clinical questions arise regarding how best to help patients manage this common condition.

On February 24, 2020 at 8 pm EST, JBJS will host a complimentary 60-minute webinar focused on 2 frequently encountered rotator cuff dilemmas: surgical versus nonsurgical management, and surgical alternatives for irreparable cuff tears that don’t involve joint replacement.

Bruce S. Miller, MD, MS unpacks the findings from his team’s matched-pair analysis in JBJS, which revealed that patients receiving both surgical and nonsurgical management of full-thickness tears experienced pain and functional improvements—but that surgical repair was the “better of two goods.”

Some patients who opt for nonoperative management end up with a chronic, irreparable rotator cuff tear. Teruhisa Mihata, MD, PhD will present findings from his team’s JBJS study, which showed that, after 5 years, healed arthroscopic superior capsule reconstruction in such patients restored function and resulted in high rates of return to recreational sport and work.

Moderated by Andrew Green, MD of Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, the webinar will feature additional expert commentaries. Grant L. Jones, MD will comment on Dr. Miller’s paper, and Robert Tashjian, MD will weigh in on Dr. Mihata’s paper.

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 Today!

JBJS Webinar on Feb. 24: Rotator Cuff Conundrums

Rotator cuff tears account for an estimated 4.5 million patient visits per year in the US, which translates into a $3 to $5 billion annual economic burden. Add to that the pain and disability associated with rotator cuff tears, and it’s understandable that many clinical questions arise regarding how best to help patients manage this common condition.

On February 24, 2020 at 8 pm EST, JBJS will host a complimentary 60-minute webinar focused on 2 frequently encountered rotator cuff dilemmas: surgical versus nonsurgical management, and surgical alternatives for irreparable cuff tears that don’t involve joint replacement.

Bruce S. Miller, MD, MS unpacks the findings from his team’s matched-pair analysis in JBJS, which revealed that patients receiving both surgical and nonsurgical management of full-thickness tears experienced pain and functional improvements—but that surgical repair was the “better of two goods.”

Some patients who opt for nonoperative management end up with a chronic, irreparable rotator cuff tear. Teruhisa Mihata, MD, PhD will present findings from his team’s JBJS study, which showed that, after 5 years, healed arthroscopic superior capsule reconstruction in such patients restored function and resulted in high rates of return to recreational sport and work.

Moderated by Andrew Green, MD of Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, the webinar will feature additional expert commentaries. Grant L. Jones, MD will comment on Dr. Miller’s paper, and Robert Tashjian, MD will weigh in on Dr. Mihata’s paper.

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 Today!

The Evolution of Orthopaedic Surgical Skills Simulation

Surgical skills education in orthopaedics has changed dramatically from the “see one, do one, teach one” process of 30 years ago. These changes have come with a greater degree of supervision and formal skills assessments, and they have been aided by the visionary leadership at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and our own orthopaedic Residency Review Committee. These skill-acquisition enhancements have benefited both our trainees and the patients we collectively care for.

A decade ago, we entered a new phase of skill development and enhancement with computer-based surgical simulators. With advances in software and widespread interest across North America in goal-driven learning through simulation, great progress has been made. In the November 20, 2019 issue of JBJS, Weber et al. report on the further validation of a surgical simulator focused specifically on percutaneous, fluoroscopically guided pin placement for femoral neck fractures. The simulator was developed in partnership between the AAOS and OTA.

This study sought to determine whether novice practitioners (medical students, in this case) who completed 9 training modules before using the simulator (the “trained” group) would perform the simulated pinning task better than peers who did not complete the presimulation training (the “untrained” group). It was no surprise to me that the trained group had a significantly higher overall performance score on the simulator. In addition, relative to the untrained group, the trained students also showed improved performance on 4 specific measures—3 of which were related to the angle between the placed pins.

These findings are clearly supportive of continued development of this and additional simulation environments. But at the same time, we need to move forward with improved documentation of surgical skill acquisition among orthopaedic residents and fellows. As simulator technology continues to improve, the next decade should yield even more positive results in skills acquisition than we saw in the last decade. We are clearly on the right path with the use of advanced technology for surgical skill development among orthopaedic trainees.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Orthopaedic Interns Across Chicago Learn and Bond in Journal Club

OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. The following contribution comes from Rob Christian, MD and Maddy Lyons, MD.

Editor’s Note: The application deadline for the 2019-2020 JBJS Robert Bucholz Resident Journal Club Grant Program has been extended to November 1, 2019.

Junior residents often hear attendings, fellows, and senior residents quote landmark studies, but few find the time to track down and read these important papers on their own. So, when the Northwestern University Orthopaedic Residency Program was awarded one of the JBJS Robert Bucholz Resident Journal Club Grants, Haley Smith, MD (PGY-2) and I used the funding to pilot an Intern Journal Club, inviting all the interns in orthopaedic surgery residency programs across Chicago to read and discuss landmark studies.

Over the last decade, several hospitals in Chicago, such as John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, have trained teams of orthopaedic residents from multiple programs. Working in the hospital with residents from different programs is a great educational experience, and we thought these resident teams could be even more effective if they interacted with one another prior to working together in the hospital.

Our Intern Journal Club met quarterly, and had impressive attendance, especially considering the busy intern work schedule. Each journal club session featured 4 to 5 landmark studies (suitable for PGY-1s), and discussions were led by senior residents selected across the programs.  Articles discussed came from all orthopaedic subspecialties. In addition to literature-based discussions, the get-togethers fostered collegial relationships among the different programs.

For me, the most rewarding part of the Intern Journal Club has been meeting the interns as they begin their residencies and guiding discussion to help them think critically about orthopaedic literature. With the continued support of the JBJS Robert Bucholz Resident Journal Club Grant, we look forward to continuing to host the Intern Journal Club for this year’s intern class.

Rob Christian, MD (PGY-5)
McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University

*          *          *          *

Initially, the JBJS Chicago Intern Journal Club felt like it was adding articles to an endless intern reading list. However, it turned out to be one of the more valuable and fun educational experiences of my intern year.

The meetings provided the unique opportunity to meet residents from the other Chicago programs. Exchanging stories of intern-year trials and tribulations quickly bonded our group. It was interesting to discover the differences and similarities in our programs, our rotations, and even in the ways in which we manage injuries. In addition to building relationships with peers across programs, the journal clubs allowed me to connect with senior residents who have similar career interests and build several new mentorships.

The articles that we read and discussed were landmark studies that shape the practice of orthopaedics on a daily basis. Through morning conferences, OITE practice questions, and clinical care, interns are exposed repeatedly to fundamentals of orthopaedics, such as open fracture management and functional bracing of humeral shaft fractures. However, without our Intern Journal Club, I may not have explored the studies on which these practice-shaping principles are built. An open, discussion-based format with senior residents helped me understand the “whys” of what we are taught.

We are fortunate to have so many great orthopaedic residency programs in Chicago, each with unique strengths. I hope that our Intern Journal Club continues in the years to come to inspire future collaboration in educational, social, and networking events among the local residency programs.

Maddy Lyons, MD (PGY-2)
Loyola University Medical Center

Seeking Trauma Section Head for JBJS Clinical Classroom

JBJS is currently seeking a Trauma Section Head for the JBJS Clinical Classroom learning system. Clinical Classroom is an interactive, adaptive learning tool featuring more than 3,500 questions and comprehensive responses across 10 orthopaedic specialties. Questions and responses are clinically relevant, peer reviewed, and authored by orthopaedic surgeons. The platform also provides substantive Learning Resources that enhance the user experience.

The Section Head is responsible for leading a team of authors and developing new trauma-related content on a yearly basis. In addition, the Section Head will address user challenges and feedback. Ideally, candidates should be fellowship trained, in orthopaedic practice for at least 5 years, and have a passion for clinical education.

Click here for more information on the Clinical Classroom product.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Chris Chiodo, Editor, JBJS Clinical Classroom at cchiodo@jbjs.org.  Please include your CV and a short statement describing your interest and experience in orthopaedic education.

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!