Trying to educate elderly patients and their family members about how to best treat a femoral neck fracture can be difficult. These patients typically have multiple—and often severe—medical comorbidities that can make even the most “simple” surgery complex and life-threatening. Making such discussions even harder is the lack of Level-I evidence related to treating these common injuries. For severely displaced fractures, the evidence supports performing either a hemi- or total hip arthroplasty on most patients. But the data is much less clear for minimally or nondisplaced fractures.
For these reasons, I was excited to read the study by Dolatowski et al. in the January 16, 2019 issue of JBJS. The authors performed a prospective, randomized controlled trial comparing internal screw fixation to hemiarthroplasty for valgus impacted or nondisplaced femoral neck fractures in >200 patients with a mean age of 83 years. They found that patients who underwent hemiarthroplasty had a significantly faster “up-and-go” test and were significantly less likely to undergo a major reoperation than those who underwent internal fixation. However, patients in the internal-fixation group were less likely to develop pulmonary complications. There were no between-group differences in overall hip function (as evaluated with the Harris hip score) or in the 24-month mortality rate.
This study lends support to what many surgeons tell elderly patients with a nondisplaced femoral neck fracture: a hemi- (or total) arthroplasty will probably provide the lowest risk of needing a repeat operation for the injury, while placing percutaneous screws may decrease the risk of cardiopulmonary complications related to the operation. While these findings may not be surprising, this study provides important Level I data that can help us educate patients and their families so that the best treatment for each individual patient can be determined.
Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media
In the January 4, 2017 issue of The Journal, Swart et al. provide a well-done Markov decision analysis on the cost effectiveness of three treatment options for femoral neck fractures in patients between the age of 40 and 65: open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), total hip arthroplasty (THA), and hemiarthroplasty. Plugging the best data available from the current orthopaedic literature into their model, the authors estimated the threshold age above which THA would be the superior strategy in this relatively young population.
For patients in this age group, traditional thinking has been to perform ORIF in order to “save” the patient’s native hip and avoid the likelihood of later revision arthroplasty. However, in this analysis THA emerges as a cost-effective option in otherwise healthy patients >54 years old, in patients >47 years old with mild comorbidity, and in patients >44 years old with multiple comorbidities.
On average, both THA and ORIF have similar outcomes across the age range analyzed. But ORIF with successful fracture healing yields slightly better outcomes and considerably lower costs than THA, whereas patients whose fracture does not heal with ORIF have notably worse outcomes than THA patients. This finding supports my personal bias that anatomical reduction and biomechanically sound fixation must be achieved in this younger population with displaced femoral neck fractures. The analysis confirmed that, because of poor functional outcomes with hemiarthroplasty in this population, hemiarthroplasty should not be considered. Poor hemiarthroplasty outcomes are likely related to the mismatch between the metal femoral head and the native acetabular cartilage, leading to fairly rapid loss of the articular cartilage and subsequent need for revision.
This analysis by Swart et al. provides very valuable data to discuss with younger patients and families when engaging in shared decision making about treating an acute femoral neck fracture. In my experience, most patients in this age group prefer to “keep” their own hip whenever possible, which puts the onus on the surgeon to gain anatomic reduction and biomechanically sound fixation with ORIF.
Marc Swiontkowski, MD
Proximal humeral fractures are the third most common occurring fracture in patients over the age of sixty-five years. These fractures are often difficult to accurately classify, and they can also be challenging to treat surgically.
On Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm EDT, a complimentary webinar, hosted by The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, will present findings from two recent JBJS studies that explore the classification and treatment of complex proximal humeral fractures.
Milton Little, MD will examine whether 3D CT imaging helps orthopaedic surgeons classify proximal humeral fractures, and Derek J. Cuff, MD will analyze findings from a study that compared reverse total shoulder arthroplasty with hemiarthroplasty for treating these fractures in elderly patients.
Moderated by JBJS Deputy Editor Andrew Green, MD, the webinar will also feature commentaries on the study findings from shoulder experts Michael J. Gardner, MD and J. Michael Wiater, MD. The last 15 minutes of the webinar will be devoted to a live Q&A session.
Every 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. Here is a summary of selected findings from Level I and II studies cited in the October 21, 2015 Specialty Update on shoulder and elbow surgery:
–A prospective evaluation of 224 subjects with asymptomatic rotator cuff tears followed annually for an average of five years found that the risk of tear enlargement and muscle degeneration was greater in full-thickness tears, and that pain and supraspinatus muscle degeneration were associated with tear enlargement.
–The authors of a randomized trial comparing physical therapy and primary surgical repair for initial management of degenerative rotator cuff tears concluded that the effects of surgery were not profound enough to justify surgical management for patients who present initially with painful degenerative cuff tears.
–A randomized trial comparing clinical outcomes in 58 patients with a rotator cuff tear and symptomatic acromioclavicular joint arthritis found no differences in function or pain scores between those who underwent cuff repair + distal clavicle resection and those who underwent cuff repair alone.1
–After two years of follow-up, no differences in functional outcomes or rate or quality of postoperative tendon healing were found in a randomized trial comparing patients who received platelet-rich plasma following surgical cuff repair and those who did not.2
–In a three-way randomized trial comparing physical therapy, acromioplasty + physical therapy, and cuff repair + acromioplasty + physical therapy for treating symptomatic, nontraumatic supraspinatus tendon tears in patients older than 55, there were no between-group differences in the mean Constant score one year after treatment.3
–A randomized trial comparing treatments for calcific tendinitis found that ultrasound-guided needling plus a subacromial corticosteroid injection resulted in better functional scores and larger decreases in calcium-deposit size than extracorporeal shock wave therapy.4
–A randomized trial of 196 patients with recurrent traumatic anterior shoulder instability found no significant differences in WOSI and ASES scores or range of motion between groups that underwent open or arthroscopic stabilization procedures.
–A randomized study comparing the effectiveness of immobilization in abduction (15°) and external rotation (10°) versus adduction and internal rotation after primary anterior shoulder dislocation found that after two years, only 3.9% of patients in the abduction/external-rotation group had repeat instability, compared to 33.3% in the adduction/internal-rotation group.5 A separate randomized trial found no significant difference in instability recurrence after one year between a group immobilized in internal rotation (sling) and a group immobilized in adduction and external rotation (brace).6
–A randomized trial of 250 patients (mean age of 65 years) with displaced surgical neck fractures of the proximal humerus compared surgical treatment (internal fixation or hemiarthroplasty) with conservative treatment. Finding no statistically or clinically significant difference in outcomes, the authors concluded that these results do not support the recent trend toward surgical management for proximal humeral fractures.7
–A randomized trial comparing reverse shoulder arthroplasty with hemiarthroplasty for acute proximal humeral fractures found that after two years of follow-up, reverse arthroplasty yielded better functional scores, better active elevation, and fewer complications than hemiarthroplasty.8
–A randomized trial comparing the use of concentric and eccentric glenospheres in reverse shoulder arthroplasty revealed no differences in scapular notching rates or clinical outcomes at a minimum follow-up of two years.
–A systematic review comparing radiographic and clinical survivorship of all-polyethylene versus metal-backed glenoid components used in total shoulder arthroplasty found that all-poly glenoids had a higher rate of radiolucencies and radiographic loosening but a much lower rate of revision after a mean follow-up of 5.8 years.
–A retrospective review found that arthroscopic biopsy was much more accurate than fluoroscopically guided fluid aspiration in diagnosing periprosthetic shoulder infections caused by Propionibacterium acnes.
–In a randomized trial of 76 workers’-comp patients with a displaced midshaft clavicular fracture, those receiving surgical management had faster time to union and return to work and better Constant scores than those managed conservatively.9
–Two studies compared plate fixation with intramedullary fixation for stabilizing clavicular fractures. One that randomized 59 patients found no differences in functional outcomes or time to healing. The other, which randomized 120 patients, found no between-group differences in DASH or Constant-Murley scores, but shoulder function improved more quickly in the plate-fixation group.
–A study that compared standard arthroscopic capsular release with capsular release extending to the posterior capsule for treating frozen shoulder found no difference in postoperative clinical or range-of-motion outcomes between the two groups.10
–A randomized trial comparing regional analgesia to local anesthetic injections in patients undergoing elbow arthroscopy found no differences in pain, oral analgesic use, or patient satisfaction within 48 hours after surgery.11
–A randomized trial comparing eccentric and concentric resistance exercises for the treatment of chronic lateral epicondylitis found that the eccentric-exercise group had faster pain regression, lower pain scores at 12 months, and greater strength increases.12
- Park YB, Koh KH, Shon MS, Park YE, Yoo JC. Arthroscopic distal clavicle resection in symptomatic acromioclavicular joint arthritis combined with rotator cuff tear: a prospective randomized trial. Am J Sports Med. 2015 Apr;43(4):985-90.Epub 2015 Jan 12.
- Malavolta EA, Gracitelli ME, Ferreira Neto AA, Assunção JH, Bordalo-RodriguesM, de Camargo OP. Platelet-rich plasma in rotator cuff repair: a prospective randomized study. Am J Sports Med. 2014 Oct;42(10):2446-54. Epub 2014 Aug 1.
- Kukkonen J, Joukainen A, Lehtinen J, Mattila KT, Tuominen EK, Kauko T, Aärimaa V.Treatment of non-traumatic rotator cuff tears: a randomised controlled trial with one-year clinical results. Bone Joint J. 2014 Jan;96-B(1):75-81.
- Kim YS, Lee HJ, Kim YV, Kong CG. Which method is more effective in treatment of calcific tendinitis in the shoulder? Prospective randomized comparison between ultrasound-guided needling and extracorporeal shock wave therapy. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014 Nov;23(11):1640-6. Epub 2014 Sep 12.
- Heidari K, Asadollahi S, Vafaee R, Barfehei A, Kamalifar H, Chaboksavar ZA,Sabbaghi M. Immobilization in external rotation combined with abduction reduces the risk of recurrence after primary anterior shoulder dislocation. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014 Jun;23(6):759-66. Epub 2014 Apr 13.
- Whelan DB, Litchfield R, Wambolt E, Dainty KN; Joint Orthopaedic Initiative for National Trials of the Shoulder (JOINTS).External rotation immobilization for primary shoulder dislocation: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2014 Aug;472(8):2380-6.
- Rangan A, Handoll H, Brealey S, Jefferson L, Keding A, Martin BC, Goodchild L,Chuang LH, Hewitt C, Torgerson D; PROFHER Trial Collaborators. Surgical vs nonsurgical treatment of adults with displaced fractures of the proximal humerus: the PROFHER randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2015 Mar 10;313(10):1037-47.
- Sebastiá-Forcada E, Cebrián-Gómez R, Lizaur-Utrilla A, Gil-Guillén V. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty versus hemiarthroplasty for acute proximal humeral fractures. A blinded, randomized, controlled, prospective study. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014Oct;23(10):1419-26. Epub 2014 Jul 30
- Melean PA, Zuniga A, Marsalli M, Fritis NA, Cook ER, Zilleruelo M, Alvarez C.Surgical treatment of displaced middle-third clavicular fractures: a prospective, randomized trial in a working compensation population. J Shoulder Elbow Surg.2015 Apr;24(4):587-92. Epub 2015 Jan 22.
- Kim YS, Lee HJ, Park IJ. Clinical outcomes do not support arthroscopic posterior capsular release in addition to anterior release for shoulder stiffness: a randomized controlled study. Am J Sports Med. 2014 May;42(5):1143-9. Epub 2014 Feb 28.
- Wada T, Yamauchi M, Oki G, Sonoda T, Yamakage M, Yamashita T. Efficacy of axillary nerve block in elbow arthroscopic surgery: a randomized trial. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014 Mar;23(3):291-6. Epub 2014 Jan 15.
- Peterson M, Butler S, Eriksson M, Svärdsudd K.A randomized controlled trial of eccentric vs. concentric graded exercise in chronic tennis elbow (lateral elbow tendinopathy). Clin Rehabil. 2014 Sep;28(9):862-72. Epub 2014 Mar 14.