Tag Archive | scoliosis

JBJS 100: SCFE Outcomes, Scoliosis Treatment

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:

Long-term Follow-up of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
B T Carney, S L Weinstein, J Noble: JBJS, 1991 January; 73 (5): 667
In this retrospective study of 155 hips with SCFE followed for a mean of 41 years after onset of symptoms, Carney et al. found that pinning in situ provided the best long-term function and delay of degenerative arthritis—and that realignment techniques were associated with a risk of substantial complications.

Treatment of Scoliosis: Correction and Internal Fixation by Spine Instrumentation
P R Harrington: JBJS, 1962 June; 44 (4): 591
The need for this at-the-time revolutionary instrumented approach was the polio epidemic, which left Dr. Harrington caring for many patients with severe, collapsing curves that threatened their health. Just as current hip arthroplasty techniques represent incremental improvements to the contribution of Charnley, current techniques in scoliosis surgery are stepwise improvements to Harrington’s work.

Scoliosis Management Shows Success Long-Term

Scoliosis for OBuzzHealth-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adulthood is an important outcome measure for patients diagnosed with juvenile or adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. In the May 16, 2018 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, a cross-sectional study of 1,187 Swedish patients with scoliosis by Diarbakerli et al. reveals patient-reported HRQOL outcomes at an average follow-up of approximately 18 years. Using the Scoliosis Research Society-22r (SRS-22r) and the EuroQol 5-Dimensions (EQ-5D) instruments, the authors analyzed outcomes among those who had been untreated (n = 347), brace-treated (n = 459), or surgically treated (n = 381) in accordance with standards at the time of diagnosis.

The surgically treated group had significantly lower scores in the SRS-22r domains of function and self-image, compared with the scores in those domains among the other two groups. According to Daniel J. Sucato, MD, who commented on the study, those findings “most likely reflect the various effects of the surgical procedure, including the stiffness imparted by the arthrodesis of the spine,… stiffness of the soft tissues, and the presence and awareness of implants and a surgical incision.” Diarbakerli et al. also found that untreated patients did not report a decrease in HRQOL with age.

Interestingly, patients treated surgically had higher SRS-22r satisfaction-domain scores than brace-treated patients, even though overall SRS-22r and EQ-5D scores were lower among surgically treated patients than brace-treated patients. For spine surgeons, one key finding was that “a more caudal extent of fusion may be one of the most important characteristics that negatively affects quality of life” in patients undergoing scoliosis surgery.

With its large number of patients and long-term, patient-focused outcomes, this study generally corroborates findings from previous, smaller studies. But, as Dr. Sucato points out in his commentary, “the brace and surgical groups had treatments that were current at the time but not relevant today, especially as they involved the use of first-generation techniques and instrumentation.”

What’s New in Pediatric Orthopaedics 2018

Pediatrics Image from HUBEvery 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, Derek Kelly, MD, co-author of the February 21, 2018 Specialty Update on Pediatric Orthopaedics, selected the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 50 studies summarized in the Specialty Update.

Trauma

—An analysis of pediatric femoral shaft fractures before and after the publication of clinical practice guidelines1 revealed a significant increase in the use of interlocked intramedullary nails in patients younger than 11 years of age, and an increase in surgical management for patients younger than 5 years of age. Considerable variability among level-I pediatric trauma centers highlights the need for further outcome studies to facilitate updating of existing guidelines.

Scoliosis

—A prospective cohort study of pain and opioid use among patients following posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis found that increased age, male sex, greater BMI, and preoperative pain levels were associated with increased opioid use. Findings like these may help guide clinicians in opioid dispensing practices that minimize the problem of leftover medication.

Infection

—Two stratification/scoring systems may aid in the early prediction of musculoskeletal infection severity and promote efficient allocation of hospital resources. A 3-tiered stratification system described by Mignemi et al.2 correlated with markers of inflammatory  response and hospital outcomes. Athey et al.3 validated a severity-of-illness score and then modified it for patients with acute hematogenous osteomyelitis.

Hip

—A study of closed reduction for developmental dysplasia of the hip4 revealed that 91% of 87 hips achieved stable closed reduction. Of those, 91% remained stable at the 1-year follow-up. Osteonecrosis occurred in 25% of cases, but it was not associated with the presence of an ossific nucleus, a history of femoral-head reducibility, or age at closed reduction.

—Regardless of obesity status, serum leptin levels increase the odds of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), according to a recent study. Researchers reached that conclusion after comparing serum leptin levels in 40 patients with SCFE with levels in 30 BMI-matched controls.

References

  1. Roaten JD, Kelly DM, Yellin JL, Flynn JM, Cyr M, Garg S, Broom A, Andras LM,Sawyer JR. Pediatric femoral shaft fractures: a multicenter review of the AAOS clinical practice guidelines before and after 2009. J Pediatr Orthop.2017 Apr 10. [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Mignemi ME, Benvenuti MA, An TJ, Martus JE, Mencio GA, Lovejoy SA, Copley LA, Williams DJ, Thomsen IP, Schoenecker JG. A novel classification system based on dissemination of musculoskeletal infection is predictive of hospital outcomes. J Pediatr Orthop.2016 Jun 13. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Athey AG, Mignemi ME, Gheen WT, Lindsay EA, Jo CH, Copley LA. Validation and modification of a severity of illness score for children with acute hematogenous osteomyelitis. J Pediatr Orthop.2016 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print].
  4. Sankar WN, Gornitzky AL, Clarke NM, Herrera-Soto JA, Kelley SP, Matheney T, Mulpuri K, Schaeffer EK, Upasani VV, Williams N, Price CT; International Hip Dysplasia InstituteClosed reduction for developmental dysplasia of the hip: early-term results from a prospective, multicenter cohort. J Pediatr Orthop.2016 Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print].

JBJS 100: Knee Instability and Scoliosis

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 constituted 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:

Rotatory Instability of the Knee
Donald B. Slocum, Robert L. Larson: JBJS, 1968 Mar; 50 (2): 211
The authors demonstrated the importance of performing the anterior drawer test with the foot held in 15° of external rotation. The physical examination described in this article has since been complemented by numerous other tests.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: A New Classification to Determine Extent of Spinal Arthrodesis
Lenke, Lawrence G. MD; Betz, Randal R. MD; Harms, Jürgen MD; Bridwell, Keith H. MD; Clements, David H. MD; Lowe, Thomas G. MD; Blanke, Kathy RN: JBJS, 2001 Aug;  83 (8): 1169
This new-at-the-time 2-dimensional classification system had three components: curve type, a lumbar spine modifier, and a sagittal thoracic modifier. It was much more reliable than previous systems in helping surgeons determine the vertebrae to be included in arthrodesis.

Cardiopulmonary Effects of Scoliosis

ventilation-scatterplot_10_5_16The 3-dimensional spinal deformities associated with scoliosis may affect other organ systems. In the October 5, 2016 issue of The Journal, Shen et al. correlated radiographic severity of thoracic curvature/kyphosis with pulmonary function at rest and exercise capacity measured with a bicycle ergometer. Forty subjects with idiopathic scoliosis were enrolled in the prospective study (mean age 15.5 years), 33 of them female.

The study found no correlation between coronal thoracic curvature and static pulmonary function tests in the female patients. Female patients with a thoracic curve of ≥ 60° had lower blood oxygen saturation at maximal exertion during the exercise test, but overall exercise tolerance did not appear to be correlated with the magnitude of the thoracic curve and kyphosis. According to the authors, taken together, the many specific cardiopulmonary findings in this study suggest that “the cardiovascular system may be less affected than the respiratory system in patients with idiopathic scoliosis.”

Not surprisingly, exercise capacity was better in patients who performed regular aerobic exercise. Although physical training may not be able to change pulmonary pathology in this population, the authors emphasized that physical activity is still recommended for patients with idiopathic scoliosis for maintaining cardiovascular and peripheral muscle conditioning.

Are Ortho Patients Getting Too Many Pain Pills?

narc_usage_2016-10-03Surgeons often prescribe more postoperative pain medication than their patients actually use. That’s partly because there is limited procedure-specific evidence-based data regarding optimal amounts and duration of postoperative narcotic use—and because every patient’s “relationship” with postoperative pain is unique. Nevertheless, physician prescribing plays a role in the current opioid-abuse epidemic, so any credible scientific information about postoperative narcotic usage will be helpful.

The Level I prognostic study by Grant et al. in the September 21, 2016 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery identified factors associated with high opioid use among a prospective cohort of 72 patients (mean age 14.9 years) undergoing posterior spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis.

Higher weight and BMI, male sex, older age, and higher preoperative pain scores were associated with increased narcotic use after surgery. Somewhat surprisingly, the number of levels fused, number of osteotomies, in-hospital pain level, self-reported pain tolerance, and surgeon assessment of anticipated postoperative narcotic requirements were unreliable predictors of which patients would have higher postoperative narcotic use.

Because the authors found that pain scores returned to preoperative levels by postoperative week 4, they say, “further refills after this point should be considered with caution.” Additionally, after reviewing the cohort’s behavior around disposing of unused narcotic medication, the authors conclude, “We consider discussion of narcotic use and disposal to be an important component of the 1-month postoperative visit…This important educational opportunity could help decrease abuse of narcotics.”

What’s New in Pediatric Orthopaedics

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 cited in the February 17, 2016 Specialty Update on pediatric orthopaedics:

Guidelines and AUCs

–The AAOS updated its clinical practice guidelines on the treatment of pediatric diaphyseal femoral fractures1 and adopted appropriate use criteria (AUC) for pediatric supracondylar humeral fractures with vascular injury.2

Spine

–A matched case control study of surgical spinal procedures found that neuromuscular scoliosis, weight for age ≥95th percentile, ASA score of ≥3, and prolonged operative time were associated with a higher risk of surgical site infection.3

–Several groups, including the Scoliosis Research Society and POSNA, endorsed the definition of early-onset scoliosis as “scoliosis with onset less than the age of ten years, regardless of etiology.”4, 5

–A prospective randomized study found that preoperative education and orientation for scoliosis surgery paradoxically increased immediate postoperative anxiety among patients and caregivers, relative to controls who received standard perioperative information.6

–A randomized trial investigating perioperative blood loss and transfusion rates in patients undergoing posterior spinal arthrodesis for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis found that tranexamic acid and  epsilon-aminocaproic acid reduced operative blood loss but not transfusion rates when compared with placebo.

Hip

–A study of 30 patients with severe stable slipped capital femoral epiphysis found that good or excellent results were achieved over 2.5 years in a higher proportion of those receiving a modified Dunn realignment compared with those treated with in situ fixation. The reoperation rate was greater in the in situ fixation cohort.7

–A prospective study analyzing complications after periacetabular osteotomy for acetabular dysplasia using the modified Clavien-Dindo grading scheme found grade III or IV complications in 5.9% of 205 patients, with a nonsignificant trend associating complications with male sex and obesity.

–A registry-based study found that, compared with matched controls, patients with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease had an elevated hazard ratio of 1.5 for ADHD, 1.3 for depression, and 1.2 for mortality. It remains unclear whether patients with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease would benefit from routine psychiatric screening.8

Sports Medicine

–A case control study of 822 injured athletes and 368 uninjured athletes found that overuse injuries represented 67.4% of all injuries. The risk of serious overuse injury was two times greater if the weekly hours of sports participation were greater than the athlete’s age in years.9

–A meta-analysis of initial nonoperative treatment compared with operative treatment of ACL tears in children and adolescents noted instability and pathologic laxity in 75% of patients with nonoperative treatment compared with 14% of patients following reconstruction.10

Trauma

–A review of more than 4,400 supracondylar humeral fractures with isolated anterior interossesous nerve palsies but without sensory nerve injury or dysvasculartity found that postponing treatment for up to 24 hours did not delay neurologic recovery.

–A randomized controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of analgesics during intraossesous pin removal found that acetaminophen and ibuprofen were clinically equivalent to placebo in terms of pain reduction and heart rate.

Foot and Ankle

–A study exploring risk factors for failure of allograft bone after calcaneal lengthening osteotomy found a lower risk of failure with tricortical iliac crest allograft relative to patellar allograft. The risk of radiographic graft failure increased with patient age.11

–A prospective nonrandomized study of symptomatic planovalgus feet comparing subtalar arthroereisis with lateral column lengthening found similar postoperative improvements and complication rates in both groups after one year.12

Musculoskeletal Infection & Neuromuscular Conditions

–A cohort study of 869 children with osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, pyomyositis, or abscess concluded that routinely culturing for anaerobic, fungal, and acid-fast bacterial organisms is not recommended except in patients with a history of penetrating injury, immunocompromise, or failure of primary treatment.

–A prospective study comparing tendon transfers, botulinum toxin injections, and ongoing therapy in children with upper-extremity cerebral palsy found that tendon transfer demonstrated greater improvements than the alternatives in joint positioning during functional tasks and grip and pinch strength.

References

  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.Guideline on the treatment of pediatric diaphyseal femur fractures. 2015.http://www.aaos.org/Research/guidelines/PDFFguideline.asp.
  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.Appropriate use criteria: pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures with vascular injury. 2015.http://www.aaos.org/research/Appropriate_Use/pshfaucvascular.asp.
  3. Croft LD, Pottinger JM, Chiang HY, Ziebold CS, Weinstein SL, Herwaldt LA. Risk factors for surgical site infections after pediatric spine operations. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 Jan 15;40(2):E112-9
  4. El-Hawary R, Akbarnia BA. Early onset scoliosis – time for consensus. Spine Deformity. 2015 Mar;3(2):105-6
  5. Skaggs DL, Guillaume T, El-Hawary R, Emans J, Mendelow M, Smith J. Early onset scoliosis consensus statement, SRS Growing Spine Committee, 2015. Spine Deformity. 2015;3(2):107.
  6. Rhodes L, Nash C, Moisan A, Scott DC, Barkoh K, Warner WC Jr, Sawyer JR, Kelly DM.Does preoperative orientation and education alleviate anxiety in posterior spinal fusion patients? A prospective, randomized study. J Pediatr Orthop. 2015 Apr-May;35(3):276-9.
  7. Novais EN, Hill MK, Carry PM, Heare TC, Sink EL. Modified Dunn procedure is superior to in situ pinning for short-term clinical and radiographic improvement in severe stable SCFE. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 Jun;473(6):2108-17. Epub 2014 Dec 12
  8. Hailer YD, Nilsson O. Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease and the risk of ADHD, depression, and mortality. Acta Orthop. 2014 Sep;85(5):501-5. Epub 2014 Jul 18.
  9. Jayanthi NA, LaBella CR, Fischer D, Pasulka J, Dugas L. Sports-specialized intensive training and the risk of injury in young athletes: a clinical case-control study. Am J Sports Med. 2015 Apr;43(4):794-801. Epub 2015 Feb 2.
  10. Ramski DE, Kanj WW, Franklin CC, Baldwin KD, Ganley TJ. Anterior cruciate ligament tears in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis of nonoperative versus operative treatment. Am J Sports Med. 2014 Nov;42(11):2769-76. Epub 2013 Dec 4.
  11. Lee IH, Chung CY, Lee KM, Kwon SS, Moon SY, Jung KJ, Chung MK, Park MS. Incidence and risk factors of allograft bone failure after calcaneal lengthening. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 May;473(5):1765-74. Epub 2014 Nov 14.
  12. Chong DY, Macwilliams BA, Hennessey TA, Teske N, Stevens PM. Prospective comparison of subtalar arthroereisis with lateral column lengthening for painful flatfeet. J Pediatr Orthop B. 2015 Jul;24(4):345-53.

3-D Imaging Provides More Accurate Picture of Scoliosis Deformities

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity (coronal, axial, and sagittal), so it makes sense that a 3-D imaging method for evaluating the condition and measuring the impact of surgical correction would outperform traditional two-dimensional imaging techniques. That’s exactly what Newton et al. found in their Level II diagnostic study in the October 21, 2015 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

The authors analyzed 3-D and 2-D images from 120 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), before and after surgery with segmented thoracic pedicle-screw instrumentation. The mean preoperative Cobb angle on the standard 2-D view was 55° ± 10°, while on the 3-D view it was 52° ± 9° (p ≤ 0.001). The mean T5-T12 kyphosis on the 2-D view measured 18° ± 13° preoperatively and 27° ± 6° postoperatively, while the mean T5-T12 kyphosis on the 3-D view measured 6° ± 14° preoperatively and 26° ± 6° postoperatively. The difference between the 2-D and 3-D measurements of T5-T12 kyphosis strongly correlated with apical vertebral rotation.

The significant preoperative overrepresentation of the T5-T12 kyphosis on standard 2-D imaging compared with 3-D assessments led the authors to conclude that “the sagittal profile evaluated by the standard lateral view is unreliable and often results in a false sense of thoracic kyphosis.” They go on to claim that “measurement with the 3-D, segmental local vertebral approach can be a useful, surgeon-oriented method for evaluating the deformity of scoliosis as well as the correction associated with surgical treatment.”

JBJS Classics: Harrington Ushered in Modern Spine Surgery in 1962

JBJS-Classics-logo

Each month during the coming year, OrthoBuzz will bring you a current commentary on a “classic” article from The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. These articles have been selected by the Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editors of The Journal because of their long-standing significance to the orthopaedic community and the many citations they receive in the literature. Our OrthoBuzz commentators will highlight the impact that these JBJS articles have had on the practice of orthopaedics. Please feel free to join the conversation about these classics by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button in the box to the left.

The JBJS Classic Treatment of Scoliosis: Correction and Internal Fixation by Spinal Instrumentation by Paul R. Harrington describes 15 years of investigation, beginning in 1947, soon after Dr. Harrington completed his residency in Kansas City and headed an Army orthopaedic unit during World War II. The importance of this paper can’t be overstated. With this description of instrumentation that improved deformity outcomes, Harrington ushered in modern spine surgery.  It was also one of the rare early examples of orthopaedic clinical science funded by a national grant.

The need for this daring, revolutionary instrumented approach was the polio epidemic, which left Dr. Harrington caring for many patients with severe, collapsing curves that threatened their health. Polio patients comprised 75% of the first series described in this paper.

This comprehensive study combines theory, basic science, surgical techniques, and outcomes. With it, Harrington started the still-continuing dialogue about indications for scoliosis surgery with the comment that “clinical indications for therapy are still being worked out.” As a partial answer to the indications quandary, he introduced the Harrington factor—the number of degrees of primary curve divided by the number of vertebrae in the primary curve. This calculation continues to be used (renamed) in some current research into risks of curve correction, while debate continues about other indications such as progression, pain, and pulmonary issues.

The technique of spinal instrumentation is extensively described in this landmark article. Noteworthy is Harrington’s gradual embrace of the need for fusion and well-molded body cast immobilization, both of which he credits with improved results. (Initially Harrington had hoped to avoid fusion in many cases.) Although “instrumentation” today is nearly synonymous with “fusion,” some of our most promising ideas in deformity correction now involve instrumentation without fusion.

Also impressive is the respect with which Harrington treated the spinal cord and dura. He describes careful insertion of the hooks and recommends against downward hooks above L2, where the conus ends. This paper reminds us that we should always pursue the lowest-risk approach to instrumentation that will serve our patients. Dr. Harrington was also cognizant of the importance of blood loss, and meticulously measured it by stage of surgery. He showed that most blood loss occurred during subperiosteal dissection, a fact that we still recognize today.

Harrington’s description of selective thoracic fusion was illustrated radiographically in Figure 7, which shows a dramatic result where a 55° unfused lumbar curve declined to 18° after correction of a larger thoracic curve. This concept was further developed by Moe, King, Lenke and others, but the idea of spontaneous correction of lumbar curves started with the power of Harrington’s instrumentation.

The benefits of our more “modern” instrumentation are evident when reading the recommended aftercare in Harrington’s paper: a 16-day hospital stay, 8 weeks of bed rest, and a Risser localizer cast for 3 to 5 months, only to find out whether the patient might need reoperation for instrumentation problems or pseudarthrosis.

A modern journal editor might have expended some red ink on Dr. Harrington’s paper. The organization was less formal than many scientific papers today, but this may reflect the multiple simultaneous investigations and changes that took place during this decade-plus of revolutionary work. Dr. Harrington emphasizes that the results improved with each iteration of the procedure and device, which underwent more than three dozen design modifications.

Details on the curve sizes were not given, but we now recognize that curve size does not correlate linearly with clinical parameters.  While Harrington does not describe the contributions of others who may have been involved in this work, neither does he use the eponymous term (“Harrington instrumentation”) that others attached to his spinal fixation device. While remarkable in its prescience, this paper did not anticipate the problems of distraction instrumentation in the lumbar spine, later characterized as Flatback Syndrome. It also did not elaborate on the need for differing mechanics in kyphoscoliosis or Scheuermann kyphosis.

Nevertheless, in this single article, Dr. Harrington laid the groundwork for three major themes that orthopaedists have further developed:

  • The safety and benefits of metal fixation in spine surgery
  • The use of growth guidance in patients < 10 years old
  • The idea of selective thoracic fusion for double curves

Each of these ideas has generated hundreds of additional studies and papers to get us to modern practice. Just as current hip arthroplasty techniques represent incremental improvements on the monumental contribution of Charnley, current techniques in scoliosis surgery, especially of the thoracic spine, are but stepwise improvements on Harrington’s classic work.

Paul Sponseller, MD, JBJS Deputy Editor for Pediatrics

Marc Asher, MD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Kansas Medical Center

JBJS Editor’s Choice—Achieving Incremental Progress in Spinal Deformity Correction

swiontkowski marc color

Orthopaedic surgical procedures to correct axial and appendicular skeletal deformities are usually dependent upon fixation devices, either external or internal or both. These devices are often developed through close collaboration with engineers who are generally employed by major manufacturing companies. After the devices successfully clear rigorous bench, in-vitro, and in-vivo testing, the standard initial presentation of clinical results is a case series.

All too often the initial report of results comes from a co-developer of the device, with inherent selection and detection bias that constitute what most readers would consider a conflict of interest. McCarthy and McCullough’s case series on five-year results with Shilla growth guidance in 33 children with early-onset scoliosis in the October 7, 2015 JBJS is an exception to that rule. The authors report every conceivable major and minor adverse event without holding back any negative information. They categorize complications as infection secondary to wound breakdown, spinal alignment issues, and implant issues. The overall complication rate was 73%, a rate that is not surprising given the fact that the device under study is designed to maintain correction of spinal deformity in growing children.

Thankfully, the authors reported no neurologic complications. Also on the positive side, they found that spinal curves averaging 69° preoperatively averaged 38.4° at the most recent follow-up or prior to definitive spinal instrumentation. McCarthy and McCullough also calculated a 73% reduction in the number of surgical procedures among their cohort, relative to what would be necessary to treat the same population with distraction methods every six months.

I applaud the authors for comprehensively reporting the results of correction of spinal deformity in this difficult clinical situation with high accuracy and strict definitions of major and minor events. This is how we will make advances in correcting deformity for skeletally mature and immature patients—with innovation, incremental improvement, and the widespread sharing of adverse events with the orthopaedic community. Armed with the information from this study, we must now see what the number and severity of complications look like when the broader community of orthopaedic surgeons applies these devices.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD

JBJS Editor-in-Chief