Where Does the Blood Flow in the Femoral Head?

Femoral Head Vasculature.jpegOsseous vascular anatomy has always been clinically relevant to orthopaedists, but its importance is sometimes overlooked. In the July 19, 2017 issue of The Journal, Rego et al. provide a precise topographic map of arterial anatomy in and around the femoral head.

Ever since Trueta’s classic work published in the British volume of JBJS in 1953, we’ve known that the terminal branches of the medial femoral circumflex system (also known as the lateral epiphyseal artery complex) supply blood to the majority of the femoral head. This information has proved critical in supporting treatment decisions for the management of femoral head and neck fractures. In those cases, surgeons typically perform ORIF through an anterior approach because it is remote from this posterior vascular supply.

The details in the Rego et al. study will help today’s and tomorrow’s arthroscopists more safely manage acetabular labral tears associated with cam deformities. In those settings, when increasing the “offset” across the femoral neck to decrease impingement, surgeons should limit the depth of bone removal to avoid injury to this important vascular network. Thanks to this study, operating surgeons now have precise anatomic information (albeit derived from non-deformed cadaver hips) with which to limit the risks of increasing the femoral head offset.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Why EHR Data & Analytics Matter to Orthopaedic Practices

Weisstein Headshot for O'Buzz.jpg

OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS.

Selecting and/or changing your electronic health record (EHR) system is an investment of time, money, and training. There should be a thorough vetting process in place so you can select the right technology for your practice. One of the many questions you should ask when evaluating an EHR for your practice is the system’s ability to capture and display data. Data capture and analysis are critical for many reasons, one of which is reporting for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

The Value of Structured/Discrete Data
You want an EHR system that can capture structured, actionable data and automate patient and regulatory compliance documentation in near real-time. It is crucial to focus specifically on what is known as “discrete” or “structured” data. The opposite of narrative data, discrete/structured data captures specifics from each patient encounter.

Structured data matters so much because it is mineable—that is, it can be uniquely identified retrospectively. Structured data is crucial for group analytics, research, and the imminent obligations, such as MIPS, that the government and payers are placing on orthopaedic groups.

To maximize financial success, your EHR system should automatically capture all the data you need at the point of care to build and report your composite MIPS score. Once you have this data, you need tools that can help you visualize and analyze it.

The Importance of Visible Analytics
Analytics tools in your EHR system should:

1) Comparatively benchmark your near real-time quality and cost data to those of your peers

2) Visibly illustrate financial information to improve your bottom line and operations.

It is essential for everyone at a practice to have access to this real-time comparative benchmarking of both quality and cost data to succeed under MIPS. The analytics tools should not only show individual clinician performance and practice performance, but also where you stand when compared to other orthopedic surgeons and practices.

Making your financials visible can aid in improving your bottom line and operations far beyond a MIPS score. Having peer-to-peer comparisons in real-time will give you the chance to make operational changes, if necessary, to improve your practice.

From patient check-in to discharge, your analytics tool should enable you to identify and track key clinical, financial and operational processes to uncover insights to help optimize your practice. For example, orthopaedists would undoubtedly benefit from analytics on the prescribing of high-risk medications such as narcotics, blood thinners, and NSAIDs. Ultimately, robust analytics capabilities can help you measure and enhance your performance by making high-quality medical decisions for your patients and keeping costs down.

Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS is the Medical Director of Orthopedics at Modernizing Medicine.

Let Unstable Chondral Lesions Be During Partial Meniscectomy

Chondral Debridement Graph for OBuzzMore than 900,000 patients every year undergo knee arthroscopy in the US. Many of those procedures involve a partial meniscectomy to address symptomatic meniscal tears. Surgeons “scoping” knees under these circumstances often encounter a chondral lesion—and most proceed to debride it.

However, in the July 5, 2017 issue of JBJS, Bisson et al. report on a randomized controlled trial that suggests there is no benefit to arthroscopic debridement of most unstable chondral lesions when they are encountered during partial meniscectomy. With about 100 patients ≥30 years old in each group, the authors found no significant differences in function and pain outcomes between the debridement and observation groups at the 1-year follow-up. In fact, relative to the debridement group, the observation group had more improvement in WOMAC and KOOS pain scores at 6 weeks, better SF-36 physical function scores at 3 months, and increased quadriceps circumference at 6 months.

The authors conclude that these findings “challenge the current standards” of typically debriding chondral lesions in the setting of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy. They also surmise that, in conjunction with declining Medicare reimbursements for meniscectomies with chondral debridement, these results “may lead to a reduction in the rate of arthroscopic debridement.”

JBJS/AOA Webinar–Implementing Medicare’s Quality-Incentive Programs

Aug Webinar Presenters.pngAre you confused and frustrated by Medicare’s Quality-Incentive Programs, such as the Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) program, and the Surgical Hip and Femur Fracture Treatment (SHFFT) model?  If so, this webinar is for you.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 8:00 PM EDT,  The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS) and the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) will host a complimentary LIVE webinar featuring the following speakers and topics:

  • Brian McCardel, MD will discuss choosing MIPS-related quality measures, improving performance on those measures, and qualifying for bonuses.
  • Thomas Barber, MD, FAOA will focus on managing clinical care including how to deliver low-cost high-quality care for high-risk orthopaedic patients.
  • Alexandra Page, MD will discuss partnering with hospitals and post-acute organizations to improve patient care and reap financial rewards.

Moderated by Douglas Lundy, MD, FAOA, the webinar will include a live Q&A session between the audience and panelists.

Seats are limited, so register now!

Centenarians Fare Pretty Well After Hip Fracture Treatment

Centenarian.jpgPeople 100 years old and older—centenarians—make up only 0.02% of the current US population. Nevertheless, the number of centenarians is expected to increase five-fold by 2060. That is in part what prompted Manoli III et al. to analyze a large New York State database to determine whether patients ≥100 years old who sustained a hip fracture fared worse in the hospital than younger hip-fracture patients. The study appears in the July 5, 2017 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Only 0.7% of the more than 168,000 patients ≥65 years old included in the analysis sustained a hip fracture when they were ≥100 years old. Somewhat surprisingly, centenarians incurred costs and had lengths of stay that were similar to those of the younger patients. However, despite those similarities, centenarians had a significantly higher in-hospital mortality rate than the younger patients. Male sex and an increasing number of comorbidities were found to predict in-hospital mortality for centenarians with hip fractures.

Manoli III et al. also found that, relative to other age groups, centenarians were managed nonoperatively at a slightly higher frequency when treated for extracapsular hip fractures. For intracapsular fractures, an increasing proportion of patients >80 years were managed with hemiarthroplasty and nonoperative treatment. Finally, among centenarians, time to surgery did not affect short-term mortality rates, suggesting a potential benefit to preoperative optimization.

July 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 July 2017, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “An Integrated Model of Chronic Whiplash-Associated Disorder.”

This clinical commentary explains how psychological and neurobiological factors interact with, and are influenced by, existing personal and environmental factors to contribute to the development of chronic whiplash-associated disorder.

Remove or Retain the PCL in TKA?

Posterior Stabilized Knee for OBuzz.jpegIn the world of total knee arthroplasty (TKA), the arguments about retaining the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) versus stabilizing the knee with posterior-stabilized components have raged for more than 30 years. The number of cohort studies and controlled trials attempting to clarify the issue have been too high to count. In the July 5, 2017 issue of The Journal, Vertullo et al. use the power of the Australian national joint registry to add additional important clinical information to the debate.

More than 62,000 TKA cases formed the substrate of this analysis. In a study-design twist, the revision-related outcomes were analyzed on the basis of the preference surgeons had for the two different design options, not on the basis of which prostheses were actually used. Consequently, there was a likelihood that the cohort of patients treated by surgeons who had a preference for posterior-stabilized designs would include some PCL-retained cases, and vice-versa. The authors claim that this “instrumental variable analysis” has “the capacity to remove the confounding by indication or disease severity against posterior-stabilized total knee replacements.” However, as with any registry study, there were still many confounding variables that could have influenced the revision rate, not the least of which is surgeon skill in component alignment and ligament tensioning.

Nevertheless, with selection bias minimized, Vertullo et al. found a real difference in revision rates favoring retention of the PCL. That finding does make biomechanical sense to this non-arthroplasty surgeon, who would expect less stress on the tibial component-bone interface at the extremes of knee motion with the PCL-retaining procedure.

Biomechanics notwithstanding, I think this very large registry-based arthroplasty study will influence the debate going forward, but I doubt it will end the debate or that it will change the TKA practices of many surgeons worldwide. For a more definitive and potentially practice-changing resolution to this clinical conundrum, we’ll need a very large (2,000 to 3,000 patients in each arm) international trial where surgeons and patients accept randomization between these two choices.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

The Acetabulum’s Role in SCFE: Cause or Consequence?

Acetabular Version for O'Buzz.jpegThe multifactorial pathogenesis of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) almost certainly involves the acetabulum, but previous studies about that relationship have been inconclusive. In the June 21, 2017 issue of JBJS, Hesper et al. report on a matched-cohort study that used precise measurements gleaned from CT to determine that acetabular retroversion—not acetabular depth or overcoverage of the femoral head—is associated with SCFE.

The authors carefully measured acetabular depth, head coverage, and retroversion in three groups of hips: the affected hips of 36 patients with unilateral SCFE, the unaffected contralateral hips of those same patients, and healthy hips of 36 age- and sex-matched controls. They observed no deep acetabula or acetabular overcoverage in the SCFE-affected hips, but they did find a lower mean value for acetabular version (i.e., retroversion) at the level of the femoral-head center in the SCFE-affected hips, relative to contralateral and control hips.  The acetabulum was retroverted cranially in cases of severe SCFE compared with mild and moderate cases.

These findings support the hypothesis that SCFE-affected hips have reduced acetabular version, but the authors note that “additional studies will be necessary to determine whether acetabular retroversion is a primary morphological abnormality associated with the mechanical etiology of SCFE, or if it is an adaptive response to the acetabulum after the slip.” Either way, Hesper et al. conclude that their data “may help with planning treatment for patients with residual pain and limited motion related to femoroacetabular impingement after SCFE.

Surgical Approach for Cervical Myelopathy: Front or Back?

Propensity Match for OBuzz.jpegSpine surgeons have two basic approach options when performing surgery on patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy—anterior or posterior. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and numerous studies have attempted to elucidate which approach might be better for specific clinical situations.

In the June 21, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Kato et al. add to the evidence base regarding this question. They report on results from an analysis comparing the two approaches in 80 pairs of “propensity-matched” patients who had multilevel compression myelopathy. Propensity matching allowed the authors to adjust for multiple baseline factors and MRI characteristics, thus minimizing the risk of selection bias.

After the propensity-matched analysis, there were no two-year between-group differences in mJOA score, Neck Disability Index, or SF-36 Physical Component score. The overall rates of perioperative complications were similar between the two groups, although dysphagia and dysphonia were reported only in the anterior group, while surgical site infection and C5 radiculopathy were reported only in the posterior group.

The authors claim that propensity matching helps to “reflect the ‘real-world’ clinical setting and likely has greater generalizability than a smaller, narrowly randomized controlled trial,” but they ultimately conclude that the surgical approach in such cases “should be carefully chosen by evaluating risk profiles in a shared decision-making process on a case-by-case basis.”

State-of-the-Art Orthopaedic Learning Tool Coming Soon

clin-classroom-logo.png
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.

To find out more as information becomes available, Click Here.

Watch a video explaining JBJS Clinical Classroom on NEJM Knowledge+.