Tag Archive | arthroscopy

Rethinking How We Spend Healthcare Dollars During—and After—the Pandemic

OrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Frederick A. Matsen, MD and Jeremy S. Somerson, MD.

The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound effect on healthcare economics. A recent article in Health Affairs1 estimates that the median direct medical cost of a single symptomatic COVID-19 case can exceed $3,000 during the course of the infection alone. As of this writing, there have been almost 2.5 million confirmed cases in the US,2 with the number of known cases doubling every 2 months.3 These numbers suggest that the direct medical costs of the pandemic could easily exceed $8 billion. In addition, federal legislation enacted to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic is estimated to cost more than $480 billion over the next 10 years.4

Independently, the application of new technologies has also been pushing healthcare costs upward for decades. Long before the pandemic, a 2008 report from the  Congressional Budget Office concluded that “the bottom line from all these analyses is that the single most important factor driving the long-term increase in health care costs involves medical technology” and that “technological advances on average have brought major health improvements, but they often then get applied in settings where their benefits seem much less obvious.”5

In orthopaedics, we are strongly attracted to technology. In some cases – such as arthroscopy – technological advances enable less invasive, more effective, and safer treatments. In other cases, the patient benefits “seem much less obvious.” A recent review article makes the following observations about technology use in arthroplasty:

  • Computer-assisted technologies that are used in arthroplasty include navigation, image-derived instrumentation, and robotics.
  • Computer-assisted navigation improves accuracy and allows for real-time assessment of component positioning and soft-tissue tension.
  • It is not clear whether the implementation of these technologies improves the clinical outcome of surgery.
  • High cost and time demands have prevented the global implementation of computer-assisted technologies.

If we take shoulder arthroplasty as a general example, we see that prior to the introduction of routine preoperative CT scans, 3D planning, patient-specific instrumentation, metal-backed and augmented glenoid components, and short-stemmed and stemless humeral components, the results of anatomic total shoulder replacement for osteoarthritis were excellent, with 10-year revision rates under 5%.6,7 Such outcomes do not leave much room for improvement from newer technologies, each of which carries incremental costs of research, development, clearance by the FDA, marketing, learning curves, and potential product recalls and unanticipated long-term adverse effects.8 As Rosenthal et al. recently pointed out, “Since 3D planning and intraoperative navigation is more costly than 2D planning, and augmented glenoid components are more costly than standard glenoid components, the cost-benefit of these changes with respect to mid-term and long-term clinical outcomes and implant survival has not been ascertained.”9

Robust clinical data are needed to establish the incremental benefit to patients of each new technology in order to justify its associated incremental costs in comparison to legacy approaches that have been in place for years.

As a more specific example, the average cost of a preoperative shoulder CT scan ranges from $625 to $8,400,10 yet it remains to be demonstrated whether application of this technology leads to better shoulder arthroplasty outcomes in comparison to results obtained with conventional preoperative radiographic imaging.11 Agyeman et al. recently concluded that  “although CT scans are associated with greater financial cost and exposure to radiation than radiographs, the literature has yet to describe the additional clinical value and/or potential cost-value benefit as a result of improved outcomes provided by the use of CT scans in patients undergoing total shoulder arthroplasty, even when integrated with virtual planning software and generation of patient specific instrumentation.” If a preoperative shoulder CT scan costs $1,000, the very low end of the aforementioned range, avoiding routine preoperative CTs in 3 shoulder-arthroplasty patients would save an amount of money equal to the average direct medical cost of a patient with COVID-19—$3,000.

We conclude that this is a good time to seriously reconsider how we apply new technologies in orthopaedics by asking a simple question: Are we spending our more-precious-than-ever healthcare dollars in ways that best serve the population as a whole?

Frederick A. Matsen III, MD is a professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Jeremy S. Somerson, MD is a fellowship-trained shoulder and elbow surgeon at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

References

  1. Bartsch SM, Ferguson MC, McKinnell JA, O’Shea KJ, Wedlock PT, Siegmund SS, et al. The potential health care costs and resource use associated with COVID-19 in the United States. Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(6):927-35.
  2. John Hopkins University CSSE. COVID-19 dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University (JHU). 2020 Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6.
  3. Hernandez S, O’Key S, Watts A, Manley B, Pettersson H, CNN. Tracking Covid-19 cases in the US. CNN, 2020 Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/.
  4. Congressional Budget Office. The budgetary effects of laws enacted in response to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, March and April 2020. 2020 Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2020-06/56403-CBO-covid-legislation.pdf.
  5. Congressional Budget Office. Technological change and the growth of health care spending. 2008 Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/24748.
  6. Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR). Annual report 2019: Hip, Knee & Shoulder Arthroplasty. Total Shoulder outcomes over two decades. Figure ST22, Page 16. 2019 Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://aoanjrr.sahmri.com/documents/10180/668596/Hip%2C+Knee+%26+Shoulder+Arthroplasty/c287d2a3-22df-a3bb-37a2-91e6c00bfcf0.
  7. Neer CS, 2nd, Watson KC, Stanton FJ. Recent experience in total shoulder replacement. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1982;64(3):319-37.
  8. Somerson JS, Neradilek MB, Hsu JE, Service BC, Gee AO, Matsen FA, 3rd. Is there evidence that the outcomes of primary anatomic and reverse shoulder arthroplasty are getting better? Int Orthop. 2017;41(6):1235-44.
  9. Rosenthal Y, Rettig SA, Virk M, Zuckerman JD. The impact of preoperative three-dimensional planning and intraoperative navigation of shoulder arthroplasty on implant selection and operative time: a single surgeon’s experience. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2020;Epub ahead of print.
  10. Poslusny C. How much does a CT scan cost? New Choice Health, Inc., Pensacola, FL, Accessed June 28, 2020. Available from: https://www.newchoicehealth.com/ct-scan/cost.
  11. Matsen FA, 3rd, Whitson A, Hsu JE, Stankovic NK, Neradilek MB, Somerson JS. Prearthroplasty glenohumeral pathoanatomy and its relationship to patient’s sex, age, diagnosis, and self-assessed shoulder comfort and function. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2019;28(12):2290-300.

What’s New in Foot & Ankle Surgery 2018

foot-ankle-for-obuzz.jpegEvery 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 Sheldon Lin, MD, a co-author of the May 16, 2018 Specialty Update on Foot and Ankle Surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 60 studies cited in the article.

Ankle Arthroscopy
—A recent Level-I study1 investigated the efficacy of preemptive local anesthesia in combination with general or spinal anesthesia in 80 patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy. The authors found that patients receiving local anesthesia did not require any on-demand pain medication and reported lower pain intensity up to 24 hours post-arthroscopy. Patients in the spinal anesthesia-only group had better pain control than did patients receiving general anesthesia only.

Hallux Rigidus
—While arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint is the preferred treatment for this condition among most providers, concerns over medial column lengthening and degenerative changes at adjacent joints have led to continued interest in MTP arthroplasty. In a 15-year follow-up of 52 patients randomized to MTP joint arthrodesis or arthroplasty2, Stone et al. found that those who underwent arthrodesis had less pain, fewer revisions, and greater satisfaction than those in the arthroplasty group, with equal function scores. On the basis of these data, arthrodesis remains the treatment of choice for severe hallux rigidus.

Total Ankle Arthroplasty (TAA)
—In a prospective study of 451 patients with an average follow-up of 4.5 years, Lefrancois et al. compared clinical and functional outcomes of 4 TAA prostheses: the HINTEGRA implant, the Agility implant, the Mobility implant, and the Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR). Patients with the Mobility implant had less improvement in scores on the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale, while the other 3 implants had comparable results.

—In a matched cohort study of more than 3,000 patients examining the complication rates of TAA versus those of arthrodesis, Odum et al. found that patients undergoing arthrodesis had a 1.8-times higher risk of a major perioperative complication than those undergoing TAA.

Plantar Fasciitis
—In a randomized controlled trial of 50 patients investigating the efficacy of botulinum toxin for treating plantar fasciitis3, Ahmad et al. found that patients in the botulinum toxin group had improved function and pain scores compared with the placebo group at 6 and 12 months post-injection, as well as a lower rate of surgical treatment for recalcitrant symptoms (0% versus 12%).

References

  1. Liszka H, Gądek A. Preemptive local anesthesia in ankle arthroscopy. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Dec;37(12):1326-32. Epub 2016 Sep 12.
  2. Stone OD, Ray R, Thomson CE, Gibson JNA. Long-term follow-up of arthrodesis vs total joint arthroplasty for hallux rigidus. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Apr;38(4):375-80. Epub 2016 Dec 20.
  3. Ahmad J, Ahmad SH, Jones K. Treatment of plantar fasciitis with botulinum toxin. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Jan;38(1):1-7. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Does Residency Prepare Surgeons for Early Orthopaedic Practice?

Shoulder arthroscopy for OBuzzOne goal of an orthopaedic surgery residency is to prepare residents for the procedures they will perform when they are attendings. Yet, until the retrospective cohort study by Kohring et al. in the April 4, 2018 issue of The Journal, it remained unclear how similar a resident’s surgical case mix was compared to the cases attendings saw in early practice.  Kohring et al. used data from both the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) to compare the types of procedures residents performed between 2010 and 2012 to the cases junior attendings submitted for the ABOS Part II examination between 2013 and 2015. The authors then categorized the cases by CPT codes and split them into adult and pediatric categories to allow for further comparison.

Here are a few interesting findings from the study:

  • More than half of all adult and pediatric procedures performed during residency and by early-career attendings fell within the top 10 CPT code categories.
  • Knee and shoulder arthroscopy were the most commonly performed cases in adults during both residency and early practice.
  • Residents take part in total knee and total hip arthroplasties much more frequently than do attendings in early practice.
  • Attendings in early practice treat more than twice the number of proximal femur fractures than do residents during residency.
  • Residents are exposed to a much higher rate of spinal fusion cases than are seen by early-practice attendings.

Although the authors conclude that the “similarity between residency and early practice experience is generally strong,” this study highlights some of the disparities between the two cohorts, and these findings may inform further research aimed at improving training for orthopaedic surgeons. By themselves, however, these results should not be used to change the experience residents have during their training. The authors mention the limitations inherent when comparing these two cohorts, and I can testify that my clinical practice has evolved tremendously in the 3 years since I started as an attending.

Furthermore, with more than 90% of orthopaedic residents going on to complete a subspecialty fellowship immediately after residency, it is safe to say that the degree of similarity between residency and attending case experience will vary from surgeon to surgeon.

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

JBJS 100: Arthroscopic Supraspinatus Repair and OCD of the Talus

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:

Arthroscopic Repair of Full-Thickness Tears of the Supraspinatus
P Boileau, N Brassart, D J Watkinson, M. Carles, A M Hatzidakis, S G Krishnan: JBJS, 2005 June; 87 (6): 1229
This evaluation of the arthroscopic tension-band suture technique demonstrated that arthroscopic repair of an isolated supraspinatus detachment delivers good to excellent functional and tendon-healing results—and that the absence of tendon healing does not necessarily compromise pain relief and patient satisfaction.

Transchondral Fractures (Osteochondritis Dissecans) of the Talus
A L Berndt and M Harty: JBJS, 1959 Sept; 41 (6): 988
Berndt and Harty’s elegant clinical and anatomic study included a four-stage radiological classification scheme for traumatic talar lesions that still provides a valid foundation for decision-making with regard to operative or nonoperative treatment.

What’s New in Adult Reconstructive Knee Surgery 2018

Knee_smEvery 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, Chad A. Krueger, MD, JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media, selected the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 150 studies cited in the January 17, 2018 Specialty Update on Adult Reconstructive Knee Surgery.

Nonoperative Knee OA Treatment

—Intra-articular corticosteroid injections are commonly administered to mitigate pain and inflammation in knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, a randomized controlled trial of 140 patients found that 2 years of triamcinolone injections, when compared with saline injections, resulted in a significantly greater degree of cartilage loss without significant differences in symptoms.1

Non-Arthroplasty Operative Management

—Knee arthroscopy continues to be largely ineffective for pain relief and functional improvement in knee OA. A randomized controlled trial found no evidence that debridement of unstable chondral flaps found at the time of arthroscopic meniscectomy improves clinical outcomes.

Cartilage restoration procedures continue to show varying degrees of success. Long-term results from a randomized trial demonstrated no significant differences in joint survivorship and function between patients undergoing microfracture versus autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) at 15 years of follow-up. Nearly 50% of patients in both groups had radiographic evidence of early knee OA.

Periprosthetic Joint Infection

—Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) remains a leading cause of failure following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Successful treatment requires accurate diagnosis, and alpha-defensin was found to be both sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of PJI. However, it was not significantly superior to leukocyte esterase (LE) in cases of obvious infection.

—Reported rates of reinfection after 2-stage reimplantation for treatment of a first PJI can be as high as 19%. A 3-month course of oral antibiotics following 2-stage procedures significantly improved infection-free survival without complications.2

Post-TKA Complications from Opioids

—Amid ongoing concerns about opioid misuse, two studies3 suggested that preoperative opioid use was found to be an independent predictor of increased length of stay, complications, readmissions, and less pain relief following TKA.

References

  1. McAlindon TE, LaValley MP, Harvey WF, Price LL, Driban JB, Zhang M,Ward RJ. Effect of intra-articular triamcinolone vs saline on knee cartilage volume and pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized clinical trial. 2017 May 16;317(19):1967-75.
  2. Frank JM, Kayupov E, Moric M, Segreti J, Hansen E, Hartman C, Okroj K,Belden K, Roslund B, Silibovsky R, Parvizi J, Della Valle CJ; Knee Society Research Group. The Mark Coventry, MD, Award: oral antibiotics reduce reinfection after two-stage exchange: a multicenter, randomized controlled trial. Clin Orthop Relat Res.2017 Jan;475(1):56-61.
  3. Rozell JC, Courtney PM, Dattilo JR, Wu CH, Lee GC. Preoperative opiate use independently predicts narcotic consumption and complications after total joint arthroplasty. J Arthroplasty.2017 Sep;32(9):2658-62. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

Hip Arthroscopy: What and Who Account for Rising Utilization?

Hip Arthroscopy for OBuzzHip arthroscopy for labral pathology and cam and pincer impingement has become increasingly established as an effective procedure in the hands of experienced surgeons. However, as with all technically complex orthopaedic procedures, success entails not only sound technique, but also appropriate patient selection, meticulous pre- and intraoperative setup, and appropriate use of intraoperative fluoroscopy. Thankfully, we have a community of leaders in arthroscopy who share and teach these details.

In the December 20, 2017 issue of The Journal, Duchman et al. use the ABOS Part-II exam database to analyze who among recent graduates of orthopaedic residencies is performing hip arthroscopies. Overall, between 2006 and 2015, the authors found that 643 of 6,987 ABOS candidates (9.2%) had performed ≥1 hip arthroscopy; nearly three-quarters of those reported sports-medicine fellowship training. More than two-thirds of candidates performing hip arthroscopy performed ≤5 such procedures; conversely, only 6.5% of those candidates performed 35% of all the hip arthroscopies identified in the database.

The concerning suggestion from these findings is that the increase in hip arthroscopy utilization comes from an increased number of individuals performing the surgery, rather than from an increase in procedure volume among individual surgeons. One question this study does not address is whether there has been an increase in the prevalence of hip pathology that warrants an increased utilization of this procedure. If not, an alternative explanation, which Wennberg et al. posit in the Dartmouth Atlas, is that procedure utilization expands in relationship to the distribution of provider resources and medical opinion in the local community.

I believe that hip arthroscopy is technically challenging and that the quality of the outcome is very likely related to the per-surgeon volume of procedures performed. This makes it incumbent upon all orthopaedists who offer this procedure to actively evaluate their outcomes with validated instruments so the practitioner and her/his patients can objectively understand and discuss what the results are likely to be.

In a commentary on this study, Rupesh Tarwala, MD calls for an outcomes analysis of patients who were treated with hip arthroscopy by ABOS Part-II candidates. I concur completely, and would more specifically ask that the cohort of surgeons evaluated in this study by Duchman et al. collect and report their 1- and 2-year outcomes to The Journal.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

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.”

Sports Medicine Update

What's_New_Sports_Med_Image_for_O'Buzz.pngEvery 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.

The May 17, 2017 JBJS Specialty Update on Sports Medicine reflects evidence in the field of sports medicine published from September 2015 to August 2016. Although this review is not exhaustive of all research that might be pertinent to sports medicine, it highlights many key articles that contribute to the existing evidence base in the field.

Topics covered include:

  • Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Autograft vs Allograft ACL Reconstruction
  • Anterior Shoulder Stabilization
  • Hip Arthroscopy

JBJS Editor’s Choice—Knee Sepsis: Arthroscopic or Open Treatment?

Open vs Arthroscopic Tx for Knee Sepsis.jpegIn the March 15, 2017 issue of The Journal, Johns et al. report results from a Level III cohort study comparing arthroscopic vs open irrigation for control of acute native-knee sepsis. The authors collected information on more than 160 patients with knee sepsis over a 15-year period, which is a large cohort of patients with this relatively unusual clinical problem.

The data show a cumulative success rate of 97% with arthroscopic treatment after 3 irrigations and debridements vs 83% success in the arthrotomy group after the same number of procedures—a clinically important difference. Significantly fewer arthroscopic procedures were required for successful treatment, relative to open procedures, and post-procedure median knee range of motion was significantly greater in the arthroscopic group (90°) than in the open treatment group (70°).

The fact is that arthroscopic instruments allow a greater volume of irrigation fluid to be instilled with better access to the posterior recesses of the knee. With an open arthrotomy, it is more difficult to irrigate with high volumes, and the posterior recesses of the knee are not well accessed. It seems clear that arthroscopic management of acute knee sepsis should be the standard of care for these reasons, as well as because the technique is minimally invasive in terms of soft tissue stripping and incision size.

Treating infections of major-weight bearing joints is following a trend seen in surgical management of many orthopaedic conditions—smaller exposures with use of adjunctive visualization techniques.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

JBJS Case Connections—Osteochondritis Dissecans: Baseball and Genetics

Shoulder_OCD_12_29_16.png The exact mechanism by which osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesions develop is poorly understood. This month’s “Case Connections” spotlights 3 case reports of OCD in young baseball players, 2 of whom developed the condition in the shoulder. A fourth case report details 3 presentations of bilateral OCD of the femoral head that occurred in the same family over 3 generations.

The springboard case report, from the December 28, 2016, edition of JBJS Case Connector, describes a 16-year-old Major League Baseball (MLB) pitching prospect in whom an OCD lesion of the shoulder healed radiographically and clinically after 8 months of non-throwing and physical therapy focused on improving range of motion and throwing mechanics. Three additional JBJS Case Connector case reports summarized in the article focus on:

Among the take-home points emphasized in this Case Connections article:

  • MRI arthrograms are the best imaging modality to determine the stability of most OCD lesions. Radiographs in such cases often appear normal.
  • Early-stage OCD has the potential to heal spontaneously. Activity modification and physical therapy are effective treatments.
  • There is not a “gold-standard” surgical intervention for treating unstable/late-stage OCD. Surgery frequently provides clinical benefits but often does not result in radiographic improvement.