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Chondroitin Sulfate Similar to Celecoxib in Easing Pain of Knee OA

Rich Yoon Headshot.jpgOrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Richard Yoon, MD, in response to a recent study in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

European investigators recently reported on a trial comparing the efficacy of pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin sulfate (CS) (800 mg/day) with the NSAID celecoxib (CX) (200 mg/day) and placebo in more than 600 patients with painful knee osteoarthritis (OA).

In this well-designed, well-executed, double-blinded, 3-armed trial, investigators tracked patient pain scores at baseline and at 1-month, 3-month and 6-month intervals. This trial was characterized by strict adherence to blinded protocols, high levels of patient adherence, and meticulous review of patient diaries and adverse-event reports.

Patients in both the CS and CX groups experienced significantly greater pain relief when compared to those in the placebo group at every follow-up time point. In addition to tracking pain via the visual analogue scale (VAS), the investigators included the Lequesene index (LI)—which integrates both pain and function—along with the Minimal-Clinically Important Improvement (MCII) scale. While CX and CS were not superior/inferior to one another, both active treatments provided significant pain improvements relative to placebo according to all three measurements at all time points.

These findings showing the efficacy of pharmaceutical-grade CS are important for orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists, and general practitioners. Nonoperative management of knee OA remains an important modality that requires a multimodal approach, typically including NSAIDs and/or acetaminophen. These results suggest that there’s another safe medication that may prove especially helpful for OA patients who cannot tolerate NSAIDs or acetaminophen due to kidney, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and/or liver issues.

Richard Yoon, MD is a fellow in orthopaedic traumatology and complex adult reconstruction at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

A Paean to Shoulder Pioneer Doug Harryman

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The June 7, 2017 issue of JBJS contains one more in a series of personal essays where orthopaedic clinicians tell a story about a high-impact experience they had that altered their worldview, enhanced them personally, and positively affected the care they provide as orthopaedic physicians.

This “What’s Important” piece comes from Dr. Frederick A. Matsen, III of the University of Washington. In his moving tribute to former colleague Doug Harryman, Dr. Matsen explains how his friend and mentor’s devotion to improving patient outcomes was matched by an unwavering faith that permeated every aspect of his life. The article includes a link to a series of engaging videos that Dr. Harryman made to share his many discoveries about shoulder function with the world.

If you would like JBJS to consider your “What’s Important” story for publication, please submit a manuscript via Editorial Manager. When asked to select an article type, please choose Orthopaedic Forum and include “What’s Important:” at the beginning of the title.

Because they are personal in nature, “What’s Important” submissions will not be subject to the usual stringent JBJS peer-review process. Instead, they will be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief, who will correspond with the author if revisions are necessary and make the final decision regarding acceptance.

June 2017 Article Exchange with JOSPT

JOSPT_Article_Exchange_LogoIn 2015, JBJS launched an “article exchange” collaboration with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) to support multidisciplinary integration, continuity of care, and excellent patient outcomes in orthopaedics and sports medicine.

During the month of June 2017, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.”

Based on 17 studies included in the meta-analysis, the authors found that recreational runners had a lower occurrence of osteoarthritis compared with competitive runners and sedentary controls.

Introducing JBJS Clinical Classroom on NEJM Knowledge+

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JBJS Clinical Classroom on NEJM Knowledge+ is the only orthopaedic learning tool to interactively present clinical case-based questions, focused feedback, and detailed performance data in a state-of-the-art adaptive learning environment.

JBJS Clinical Classroom on NEJM Knowledge+ fits orthopaedic learning into your practice and specific needs.

Learn more here.

Fracture Liaison Service Boosts Patient Engagement with Secondary Prevention

fragility fractures for O'Buzz.pngOrthoBuzz has published several posts about osteoporosis, fragility fractures, and secondary fracture prevention. In the May 17, 2017 edition of JBJS, Bogoch et al. add to evidence suggesting that a coordinator-based fracture liaison service (FLS) improves engagement with secondary-prevention practices among inpatients and outpatients with a fragility fracture.

The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto initiated a coordinator-based FLS in 2002 to educate patients with a fragility fracture and refer them for BMD testing and management, including pharmacotherapy if appropriate. Bogoch et al. analyzed key clinical outcomes from 2002 to 2013 among a cohort of 2,191 patients who were not undergoing pharmacotherapy when they initially presented with a fragility fracture.

  • Eighty-four percent of inpatients and 85% of outpatients completed BMD tests as recommended.
  • Eighty-five percent of inpatients and 79% of outpatients who were referred to follow-up bone health management were assessed by a specialist or primary care physician.
  • Among those who attended the referral appointment, 73% of inpatients and 52% of outpatients received a prescription for anti-osteoporosis medication.

The authors conclude that “a coordinator-based fracture liaison service, with an engaged group of orthopaedic surgeons and consultants…achieved a relatively high rate of patient investigation and pharmacotherapy for patients with a fragility fracture.”

More Comparative Data on Surgical Approaches to THA

Implant Survival and THA Approach.jpegThe May 17, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery features a registry-based study by Mjaaland et al. comparing implant-survival/revision outcomes in total hip arthroplasty (THA) among four different surgical approaches:

  • Minimally Invasive (MI) Anterior (n=2017)
  • MI Anterolateral (n=2087)
  • Conventional Posterior (n=5961)
  • Conventional Direct Lateral (n=11,795)

Although the authors analyzed a whopping 21,860 THAs from 2008 to 2013, the findings are limited by the fact that all of those procedures used an uncemented stem.

Overall, the revision rates and risk of revision with the MI approaches were similar to those of the conventional approaches. There was a higher risk of revision due to infection in THAs that used the direct lateral approach than in THAs using the other three approaches. “To our knowledge,” the authors write, “this finding has not been previously described in the literature, and we do not have an explanation for it.” The authors also found a reduced risk of revision due to dislocation in THAs that used the MI anterior, MI anterolateral, and direct lateral approaches, relative to those using the posterior approach.

While the authors found all-cause risk of revision to be similar among all four approaches, they note that the follow-up in the study was relatively short (mean of 4.3 years) and that “additional studies are needed to determine whether there are long-term differences in implant survival.”

JBJS Elite Reviewers: Latest Update

The JBJS Elite Reviewers Program publicly recognizes our best reviewers for their outstanding efforts. Reviewers who review 4 or more manuscripts per year, rarely decline an invitation to review a manuscript (responding within 48 hours), and complete highly graded reviews within 1 week are eligible for the program.

Here is a recently updated list of JBJS Elite Reviewers, with 12 new additions marked with asterisks:

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Elite Reviewers receive the following benefits in recognition of their exemplary performance:

      • No submission fees for papers of which the reviewer is the first author (for 12 months)
      • Free CME credits for all reviews
      • Free online access to all JBJS publications
      • Name recognition on the masthead of The Journal

Click here for JBJS Consultant Reviewer Guidelines.
Click here to learn how you can be a better reviewer.

Paraplegic Surgeon Heals Self by Helping Others

Farrar_WI.pngThe May 3, 2017 issue of JBJS contains one more in a series of personal essays where orthopaedic clinicians tell a story about a high-impact lesson they learned that has altered their worldview, enhanced them personally, and positively affected the care they provide as orthopaedic physicians.

This “What’s Important” piece comes from Dr. Edward Farrar of Wenatchee Orthopaedics in Washington. In his powerful and inspiring essay titled “Lessons on Life, Death, and Disability,” Dr. Farrar explains how a serious bicycle accident in 2008 severed his spinal cord  at the T4 level.

What happened after a long and arduous recovery that left him paraplegic, followed shortly thereafter by the death of his partner from a brain tumor? He returned to work and saw patients although he could no longer operate. In his words, “I became a better listener and realized how much this has helped my patients and me.”

One of the many things he has learned from his experiences so far: “We may not always find the meaning and purpose that we were searching for, yet meaning and purpose can find us.”

If you would like JBJS to consider your “What’s Important” story for publication, please submit a manuscript via Editorial Manager. When asked to select an article type, please choose Orthopaedic Forum and include “What’s Important:” at the beginning of the title.

Because they are personal in nature, “What’s Important” submissions will not be subject to the usual stringent JBJS peer-review process. Instead, they will be reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief, who will correspond with the author if revisions are necessary and make the final decision regarding acceptance.

Don’t Delay DDH Treatment to Wait for Ossific Nucleus

Ossific_Nucleus_for_OBuzz.pngThe exact cause of osteonecrosis in the setting of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is unknown. However, some pediatric orthopaedists are concerned that DDH treatment in the absence of the ossific nucleus of the femoral head increases the risk of subsequent osteonecrosis. That concern has to be weighed against evidence that delayed DDH treatment may lead to more difficult reduction and potentially necessitate additional procedures.

In the May 3, 2017 issue of JBJS, Chen et al. performed a meta-analysis of cohort and case-control studies to clarify this potential “conflict of interests” in DDH treatment. Twenty-one observational studies were included. Of the 969 hips with an ossific nucleus present before reduction, 198 hips (20.4%) had eventual osteonecrosis events; among the 608 hips without an ossific nucleus, 129 (21.2%) had osteonecrosis events. The authors state that this difference “is neither clinically important nor [statistically] significant.”

A sub-analysis determined that the presence of the ossific nucleus was not associated with significantly decreased odds of osteonecrosis even among patients who later developed more severe (grades II to IV) osteonecrosis. Chen et al. also performed a “meta-regression” of studies with short- and long-term follow-ups, finding “no evidence for a protective effect of the ossific nucleus with either short or long-term follow-up.”

Although 11 of the 21 studies in the meta-analysis were deemed high quality and 10 were of moderate quality, the inherent limitations of a meta-analysis derived predominantly from retrospective data prompted the authors to call for “further prospective studies with long-term follow-up and blinded outcome assessors.” Nevertheless, these findings lend additional support to the belief that treatment for DDH should not be delayed based on the absence of the femoral head ossific nucleus.

High Rates of Return to Play and Patient Satisfaction after ACL Reconstruction

ACL Recon for O'Buzz.jpegThe estimated annual cost of surgical treatment for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures in the US is $2 billion. Are ACL surgery patients—and the health care system—getting significant value for all that money spent?

In the May 3, 2017 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Nwachukwu et al. set out to answer that question by retrospectively analyzing rates of return to play and satisfaction among 231 ACL-surgery patients (mean age of 27 years) who were followed for a mean of 3.7 years. The authors found that:

  • 87% had returned to play at a mean of 10 months after surgery.
  • 89% of the 171 athletes eligible to return to their prior level of competition did so.
  • 85% said they were “very satisfied” with the outcome, and 98% stated they would have the surgery again.

Not surprisingly, patients were more likely to say they were “very satisfied” if they had returned to play.

The authors also found that the use of patellar tendon autograft increased the chance of returning to play, while preoperative participation in soccer or lacrosse decreased the likelihood of returning to play. Those who participated in basketball, football, skiing, and tennis had higher return-to-play rates than those who participated in the two aforementioned sports.

In addition, Nwachukwu et al. found that one-third of those who did not return to sports reported fear of reinjury as the reason. The authors encourage surgeons to understand that “psychological readiness, fear of reinjury, and mental resiliency influence the probability of an athlete returning to play.”

In her commentary, Elizabeth Matzkin, MD cautions readers to interpret the Level IV study’s findings cautiously. She calls for “better prospective, homogeneous studies” to more accurately assess which surgical graft types and specific sports are more or less likely to result in patients returning to play. Nevertheless, the study, she says, “forces us to look at the big picture: What can we do to make ACL [reconstruction] better for our patients?”