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Arthroscopy Beats PT for FAI at 8 Months

OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. In response to a recent BMJ studythe following commentary comes from Matthew R. Schmitz, MD, FAOA.

Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome continues to be a hot topic in the orthopaedic community. The first two decades of this century have seen huge increases in the number of hip arthroscopies performed in the US and UK,1,2 most of those to treat FAI.  In the February 7, 2019 issue of BMJ, Palmer et al., reporting on behalf of the Femoroacetabular Impingement Trial (FAIT), published preliminary findings from a multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing arthroscopic hip surgery to activity modification and physiotherapy for symptomatic FAI.3

The trial randomized 222 patients with a clinical diagnosis of FAI into each cohort (110 in the physiotherapy group and 112 in the arthroscopy group). Follow-up assessments were performed by clinicians blinded to the treatment arm, and attempts were made to standardize both interventions. The participants will eventually be followed for 3 years, but this early report evaluated outcomes 8 months after randomization, with follow-up data available for  >80% of patients in both groups.

Baseline characteristics with regard to demographics, radiographic findings, and clinical measurements were similar between the two groups. After adjusting for multiple potential confounders, the authors found that the mean Hip Outcomes Score Activities of Daily Living (HOS ADL) was 10 points higher in the arthroscopy group than in the physiotherapy group, exceeding the prespecified minimum clinically important difference (MCID) of 9 points. The MCID was reached in 51% of surgical patients compared to 32% in the therapy cohort. In addition, the patient acceptable symptomatic state (PASS)—defined as a HOS ADL ≥87 points—was achieved in 48% of surgical patients and only 19% of therapy patients. Relative to the physiotherapy group, the arthroscopic group also had better hip flexion and superior results in a variety of commonly used hip patient-reported outcomes scores.

The 8-month data from this study show that there is a real improvement in patient function and reported outcomes from arthroscopic management for FAI. It will be important, however, to follow these patients for the entire 3 years of the FAIT study to show whether these improvements persist. It should also be emphasized that only half of the patients treated with surgical management achieved MCID at the 8-month point. That finding supports what I tell patients in my young-adult hip-preservation clinics, which seems relevant as baseball season starts: There are rarely any home runs in arthroscopic hip surgery. There are mainly singles and doubles that we hope to stretch into doubles and triples. Still, it appears that even those base hits with arthroscopic surgery are better than the physiotherapy alternative—at least in the early innings of the game.

Matthew R. Schmitz, MD, FAOA is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in adolescent sports and young adult hip preservation at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. He is also a member of the JBJS Social Media Advisory Board.

References

  1. Maradit Kremers H, Schilz SR, Van Houten HK et al. Trends in Utilization and Outcomes of Hip Arthrocopy in the United States Between 2005 and 2013. J Arthroplasty 2017; 32:750-5.
  2. Palmer AJ, Malak TT, Broomfield J, et al. Past and projected temporal trends in arthroscopic hip surgery in England between 2002 and 2018. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 2016;2:e000082
  3. Palmer AJ, Gupta VA, Fernquest S, et al. Arthroscopic hip surgery compared with physiotherapy and activity modification for the treatment of symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement: multicenter randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2019; 364:l185

Education, Guidelines, Willingness: Keys to Changing Opioid-Prescribing Habits

When planning for any type of surgical procedure, the orthopaedist considers many patient and injury-specific variables. With a distal radius fracture, for example, the main goal of the surgery—anatomic reconstruction of the distal radius—remains constant. However, there are numerous other variables (fracture morphology and patient age, just to name 2) that have to be considered to achieve that goal. Yet, when it comes to postoperative pain control, I imagine that most orthopaedic surgeons prescribe the same amount of opioids to almost every patient undergoing an open reduction/internal fixation of a distal radius fracture, regardless of unique patient characteristics. Our medical mantra that “no two patients are the same” seems to fall by the wayside when it comes to postoperative pain control.

This disconnect is what I thought about while reading the article by Stepan et al. in the January 2, 2019 issue of The Journal. The authors’ institution developed and disseminated to all prescribers a 1-hour opioid education program and consensus-based postoperative opioid prescription guidelines. They then compared the number of opioid pills and total oral morphine equivalents prescribed after 9 ambulatory procedures within 3 subspecialty services (sports medicine, hand, and foot and ankle) prior to and after implementation of the guidelines. Stepan et al. found a significant decrease  in the amount of narcotics prescribed after 6 of the 9 surgery types after implementation of the guidelines. Over the course of a year, those decreases would have equaled about 30,000 fewer opioid pills!

Interestingly, there was no significant post-guideline decrease in opioid prescribing after any of the 3 foot-and-ankle procedures. The authors attribute that finding to the slow adoption of the guidelines due to adherence to previously developed pain-management recommendations in this subspecialty.

It has become apparent that we tend to overprescribe opioids postoperatively (see related OrthoBuzz post). This study supports previous data showing that prescription guidelines can be useful in decreasing the amount of postoperative narcotics prescribed to patients, while maintaining adequate pain management and good levels of patient satisfaction.  While further work in developing educational tools and procedure-specific “standards” to help surgeons guide their postoperative prescribing practices would be useful, a surgeon’s mindfulness is equally important. We need first to recognize that orthopaedic surgeons tend to overprescribe postoperative opioids—and second, we must be willing to change our habits. Without both awareness and willingness, the best guidelines and recommendations will be ignored, and an opportunity for us to help curb the opioid crisis in our country will be wasted.

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

Orthopaedic Surgeons Must Educate Communities About Youth Sports Injuries

girl basketball player2OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Carl Nunziato, MD and Anthony Johnson, MD in response to a TV news segment on WLWT in Cincinnati.

While viewing the WLWT segment on youth sports injury, we were encouraged that the reporter sought out a local orthopedic surgeon to comment on the risks associated with single-sport specialization. As orthopaedic surgeons, our opinions are a trusted voice in our communities, and we need to educate athletes, coaches, and parents alike of the dangers of such specialization. We commend Dr. Timothy Kremchek for his involvement in his local community and have felt the frustration he expressed regarding the rising sport-injury rates among adolescents.

However, we caution providers against characterizing single-sport specialization as “child abuse,” as Dr. Kremchek did in this segment. This extreme language, even if used to emphasize the potentially serious nature of some sport injuries, is counterproductive. Instead, we encourage all musculoskeletal clinicians to focus on educating the public on how to reduce risk in adolescent athletes, rather than shaming or blaming.

We’ve helped many patients—both minors and adults—as they struggled to rehab from injuries, only to realize that returning to the same level of competition may not be possible. In such cases, many patients and/or their parents ask the same guilt-ridden questions as the mother of the young basketball player in the news segment: “Did I make a mistake? Did I push too hard?”

It is true that youthful participation in a single sport year-round has been shown to result in increased injury rates, burnout, and possibly even limitations in peak performance in the chosen sport due to delayed development of other muscle groups and fine motor skills. We also cannot deny the risks and costs associated with the increase in operations on young athletes. It’s key to remember, however, the principal concept of patient autonomy. As the young patient in the story reminds us, these kids often truly love their sport – and many would choose to continue participating even if they knew the risk and seriousness of eventual injury.

Instead of using sensational phrases like “child abuse,” which may frighten  families or stir up feelings of guilt, we should provide resources for coaches, parents, physicians, and athletes aimed at encouraging healthy participation and minimization of one-sport injuries. One example is the AAOS/AOSSM OneSport initiative. Educating patients and their families requires significant time and effort on the part of the orthopaedic surgeon, but it is likely to result in a more positive interaction with the patient and parents. And these interactions may help emphasize the long-term lifestyle behaviors that we are hoping to cultivate among these vulnerable populations.

Carl A. Nunziato, MD is a resident in orthopaedic surgery at Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas. Anthony Johnson, MD is the orthopaedic surgery residency program director in the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care at Dell Medical School.

Helpful Hint for Managing Femoral Neck Stress Fractures

Hip Effusion for OBuzzThe incidence of patients presenting with proximal thigh and groin pain is increasing along with increased interest in recreational athletic activity. When it is associated with a history of increased physical activity, this pain profile often prompts the ordering of a hip MRI if presenting radiographs are unremarkable. However, surgeons often find it difficult to make accurate prognoses and treatment recommendations when the MRI findings suggest a femoral neck stress fracture.

In the September 5, 2018 issue of The Journal, Steele et al. provide us with helpful hints for determining when to proceed with surgical stabilization of the femoral neck in this clinical scenario. Of the femoral neck stress fracture patients in this study who progressed to a surgical procedure, >85% had an effusion on the initial MRI, compared with only 26% of those whose condition resolved with nonoperative treatment. In statistical terms, those who had a hip effusion had an 8-fold increased risk of progression to surgery compared to those without a hip effusion. Meanwhile, the overall fracture-line percentage on the initial MRI turned out to be a poor metric for predicting progression.

Stabilization of a femoral neck stress fracture with percutaneous implants usually improves pain and predictably prevents displacement of the fracture and the attendant risk of nonunion and osteonecrosis of the femoral head. Further clinical research should help validate the seemingly reliable MRI-based predictor identified by these authors.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Gait Mechanics After ACL Reconstruction Differ According to Medial Meniscal Treatment

Knee osteoarthritis risk is high after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and arthroscopic meniscal surgery, and higher among individuals who undergo both.

Full article: https://bit.ly/2LPna91

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An Increased Lateral Femoral Condyle Ratio Is a Risk Factor for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between distal femoral morphology and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, ACL reconstruction (ACLR) failure, and contralateral ACL injury. https://jbjs.org/reader.php?source=The_Journal_of_Bone_and_Joint_Surgery/100/10/857/abstract&id=30301&rsuite_id=1666295#info #JBJSInfographics #VisualAbstract

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JBJS 100: Knee Hemarthrosis and Achilles Ruptures

JBJS 100Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal was Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.

Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.

Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered “activity” on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are two more:

Arthroscopy in Acute Traumatic Hemarthrosis of the Knee
F R Noyes, R W Bassett, E S Grood, D L Butler: JBJS, 1980 July; 62 (5): 687
This paper was among the first to identify the high rate of serious knee injuries among patients with acute traumatic hemarthrosis (ATH). Noyes’ paper showed that 72% of knees with ATH also had some degree of ACL injury. While orthopaedists generally no longer use knee arthroscopy as a diagnostic tool in the setting of ATH, because of this article, they often order MRI when patients present with this acute knee injury.

Operative versus Nonoperative Treatment of Acute Achilles Tendon Ruptures
K Willits, A Amendola, D Bryant, N Mohtadi, J R Giffin, P Fowler, C O Kean, A Kirkley: JBJS, 2010 December 1; 92 (17): 2767
This multicenter randomized trial was not the first to compare surgical treatment of Achilles tendon ruptures with nonoperative treatment that included early functional range of motion, but it confirmed that in patients treated nonoperatively, early functional treatment is preferable to cast immobilization. Since this paper was published, more than 20 studies investigating Achilles tendon ruptures have been published in JBJS, emphasizing that the search goes on for treatment protocols—surgical and nonoperative—that are effective and relatively free of complications.

JBJS 100: ACL Grafts and Wrist Instability

JBJS 100Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal was Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.

Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.

Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered “activity” on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are two more:

Biomechanical Analysis of Human Ligament Grafts Used in Knee-Ligament Repairs and Reconstructions
F R Noyes, D L Butler, E S Grood, R F Zernicke, M S Hefzy: JBJS, 1984 March; 66 (3): 344
This article set the stage for critically analyzing ACL graft choices based on mechanical properties. Several of the grafts these authors studied had poor strength and are no longer used. Subsequent studies now suggest that several grafts are stronger and stiffer than the native ACL, including bone-patellar tendon-bone grafts. While many other aspects of ACL reconstruction continue to be debated, graft strength and stiffness remain a key consideration.

Traumatic Instability of the Wrist
R L Linscheid, J H Dobyns, J W Beabout, R S Bryan: JBJS, 1972 December; 54 (8): 1612
At a time when orthopaedists were focused primarily on osseous anatomy of the wrist, this article emphasized the importance of assessing carpal alignment and realizing the consequences of disrupted carpal ligaments. Most of the parameters for radiographic assessment of carpal alignment in the article are still relevant today.

What’s New in Sports Medicine 2018

Anatomy of male knee pain in blueEvery 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, OrthoBuzz asked Albert Gee, MD, a co-author of the April 18, 2018 Specialty Update on Sports Medicine, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 30 studies cited in the article.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction
–The conversations about graft selection for ACL reconstruction go on. A meta-analysis of 19 Level-I studies comparing 4-strand hamstring autograft with patellar tendon grafts1 revealed no differences in terms of rupture rate, clinical outcome scores, or arthrometer side-to-side testing at >58 months of follow-up. The prevalence of anterior knee pain and kneeling pain was significantly less in the hamstring group, and that group also exhibited a lower rate of extension deficit.

Cartilage Repair
–Fourteen-year outcomes from a randomized controlled trial (n = 80 patients) comparing autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) with microfracture for treating large focal cartilage defects included the following:

  • No significant between-group difference in functional outcome scores
  • Fairly high treatment failure rates in both groups (42.5% in the ACI group; 32.5% in the microfracture group)
  • Radiographic evidence of grade 2 or higher osteoarthritis in about half of all patients

These findings raise doubts about the long-term efficacy of these two treatments.

Rehab after Rotator Cuff Repair
–A randomized trial comparing early and delayed initiation of range of motion after arthroscopic single-tendon rotator cuff repair in 73 patients2 found no major differences in clinical outcome, pain, range of motion, use of narcotics, or radiographic evidence of retear. The early motion group showed a small but significant decrease in disability. The findings indicate that early motion after this surgical procedure may do no harm.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
–A systematic review of 105 human clinical trials that examined the use of PRP in musculoskeletal conditions revealed the following:

  • Only 10% of the studies clearly explained the PRP-preparation protocol.
  • Only 16% of the studies provided quantitative information about the compositi0on of the final PRP product.
  • Twenty-four different PRP processing systems were used across the studies.
  • Platelet composition in the PRP preparations ranged from 38 to 1,540 X 103/µL.

Consequently, care should be taken when drawing conclusions from such studies.

Meniscal Tear Treatment
–A follow-up to the MeTeOR trial (350 patients initially randomized to receive either a partial arthroscopic meniscectomy or physical therapy [PT]) found that crossover from the PT group to the partial meniscectomy group was significantly associated with higher baseline pain scores or more acute symptoms within 5 months of enrollment. Investigators also found identical 6-month WOMAC and KOOS scores between those who crossed over and those who had surgery initially. These findings suggest that an initial course of PT prior to meniscectomy does not compromise outcomes.

References

  1. Chee MY, Chen Y, Pearce CJ, Murphy DP, Krishna L, Hui JH, Wang WE, Tai BC,Salunke AA, Chen X, Chua ZK, Satkunanantham K. Outcome of patellar tendon versus 4-strand hamstring tendon autografts for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective randomized trials. Arthroscopy. 2017 Feb;33(2):450-63. Epub 2016 Dec 28.
  2. Mazzocca AD, Arciero RA, Shea KP, Apostolakos JM, Solovyova O, Gomlinski G, Wojcik KE, Tafuto V, Stock H, Cote MP. The effect of early range of motion on quality of life, clinical outcome, and repair integrity after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Athroscopy. 2017 Jun;33(6):1138-48. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

Generalized Joint Laxity—A Risk Factor for Poor Outcomes After ACL Reconstruction

Joint Laxity InfoGraphic for OBuzzSometimes, being too flexible is not a good thing. In the February 21, 2018 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Kim et al. show that patients with generalized joint laxity—those who can hyperextend their knees and elbows beyond 10°, for example—tend to have poorer knee-stability and functional outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction than those who have normal joint flexibility.

The authors studied 8-year outcomes among 163 patients who underwent a unilateral ACL reconstruction. In all cases, the same surgeon performed the same procedure (bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft), and all patients went through the same rehab program.

In terms of graft-rupture rates and contralateral ACL rupture rates over the study period, the authors found no statistically significant differences between the 122 patients without laxity and the 41 patients who were determined preoperatively to have generalized joint laxity. However, at the 8-year follow-up, the patients with laxity had less knee stability (as measured with Lachman and pivot-shift tests and an arthrometer) and worse knee function (as measured with the Lysholm and IKDC scales) than patients without laxity.

Taken together, these findings lead Kim et al. to conclude that “generalized joint laxity should be considered a risk factor for poor outcomes after ACL reconstruction.” We also noted that JBJS Deputy Editor Robert Marx, MD (@drrmarx) remarked on Twitter that “adding lateral ITB [iliotibial band] tenodesis may be helpful for more severe cases with significant knee hyperextension.”

Click here for a two-minute video summary of this study.