Fractures of the femoral neck in children are rare, high-energy injuries with high complication rates. Their treatment has become more interventional but evidence of the efficacy of such measures is limited. We performed a systematic review of studies examining different types of treatment and their outcomes, including avascular necrosis (AVN), nonunion, coxa vara, premature physeal closure (PPC), and Ratliff’s clinical criteria. A total of 30 studies were included, comprising 935 patients. Operative treatment and open reduction were associated with higher rates of AVN. Delbet types I and II fractures were most likely to undergo open reduction and internal fixation. Coxa vara was reduced in the operative group, whereas nonunion and PPC were not related to surgical intervention. Nonunion and coxa vara were unaffected by the method of reduction. Capsular decompression had no effect on AVN. Although surgery allows a more anatomical union, it is uncertain whether operative treatment or the type of reduction affects the rate of AVN, nonunion or PPC, because more severe fractures were operated upon more frequently. A delay in treatment beyond 24 hours was associated with a higher incidence of AVN.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:135-41.