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Volume 82-B, Issue 5 July 2000

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R. M. Smith
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J. R. Williams
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T. O. Boerger D. Limb R. A. Dickson
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Surgical decompression of the spinal canal is presently accepted worldwide as the method of treatment for thoracolumbar burst fractures with neurological deficit in the belief that neurological recovery may be produced or enhanced. Our clinical and laboratory experience, however, indicates that the paralysis occurs at the moment of injury and is not related to the position of the fragments of the fracture on subsequent imaging. Since the preoperative geometry of the fracture may be of no relevance, our hypothesis, backed by more than two decades of operative experience, is that alteration of the canal by ‘surgical clearance’ does not affect the neurological outcome.

We have reviewed the existing world literature in an attempt to find evidence-based justification for the variety of surgical procedures used in the management of these fractures. We retrieved 275 publications on the management of burst fractures of which 60 met minimal inclusion criteria and were analysed more closely. Only three papers were prospective studies; the remainder were retrospective descriptive analyses. None of the 60 articles included control groups. The design of nine studies was sufficiently similar to allow pooling of their results, which failed to establish a significant advantage of surgical over non-surgical treatment as regards neurological improvement. Significant complications were reported in 75% of papers, including neurological deterioration. Surgical treatment for burst fracture in the belief that neurological improvement can be achieved is not justified, although surgery may still occasionally be indicated for structural reasons. This information should not be withheld from the patients.


A. M. Wainwright J. R. Williams A. J. Carr
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We assessed the inter- and intraobserver variation in classification systems for fractures of the distal humerus. Three orthopaedic trauma consultants, three trauma registrars and three consultant musculoskeletal radiologists independently classified 33 sets of radiographs of such fractures on two occasions, each using three separate systems.

For interobserver variation, the Riseborough and Radin system produced ‘moderate’ agreement (kappa = 0.513), but half of the fractures were not classifiable by this system. For the complete AO system, agreement was ‘fair’ (kappa = 0.343), but if only AO type and group or AO type alone was used, agreement improved to ‘moderate’ and ‘substantial’, respectively (kappa = 0.52 and 0.66). Agreement for the system of Jupiter and Mehne was ‘fair’ (kappa = 0.295). Similar levels of intraobserver variation were found.

Systems of classification are useful in decision-making and evaluation of outcome only if there is agreement and consistency among observers. Our study casts doubt on these aspects of the systems currently available for fractures of the distal humerus.


N. Mohan J. B. Hunter C. L. Colton
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Our study describes a posterolateral approach to the distal humerus for open reduction and internal fixation of displaced fractures of the lateral condyle. A total of 20 patients had open reduction and internal fixation over a four-year period using this approach, and at a mean follow-up of 12 months had full union, range of movement and no complications, either clinical or radiological. This approach is well suited to the exact visualisation and accurate reduction of this difficult fracture with minimal dissection of tissues.


M. D. McKee J. Kim K. Kebaish D. J. G. Stephen H. J. Kreder E. H. Schemitsch
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We reviewed 26 patients who had had internal fixation of an open intra-articular supracondylar fracture of the humerus. All operations were performed using a posterior approach, 13 with a triceps split and 13 with an olecranon osteotomy. The outcome was assessed by means of the Mayo Elbow score, the Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score and the SF-36 Physical Function score. Patients with an olecranon osteotomy had less good results.


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P. Tornetta D. Tiburzi
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Retrograde femoral nailing is gaining in popularity. We report a prospective, randomised comparison of antegrade and retrograde procedures in 68 patients with 69 fractures of the femoral shaft. All nails were inserted after appropriate reaming. There was no difference in operating time, blood loss, technical complications, size of nail or reamer, or transfusion requirements. There were more problems of length and rotation using a retrograde technique on a radiolucent table than with an antegrade approach on a fracture table. All fractures in both groups healed and there was no difference in the time taken to achieve union. Although retrograde nailing is a promising technique the skills required need practice. A longer period of follow-up is necessary to determine whether there are long-term problems in the knee after such surgery.


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P. V. Giannoudis D. A. MacDonald S. J. Matthews R. M. Smith A. J. Furlong P. De Boer
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We assessed factors which may affect union in 32 patients with nonunion of a fracture of the diaphysis of the femur and 67 comparable patients whose fracture had united. These included gender, age, smoking habit, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) the type of fracture (AO classification), soft-tissue injury (open or closed), the type of nail, the mode of locking, reaming v non-reaming, infection, failure of the implant, distraction at the fracture site, and the time to full weight-bearing. Patients with severe head injuries were excluded. Both groups were comparable with regard to gender, Injury Severity Score and soft-tissue injury.

There was no relationship between the rate of union and the type of implant, mode of locking, reaming, distraction or smoking. There were fewer cases of nonunion in more comminuted fractures (type C) and in patients who were able to bear weight early. There was a marked association between nonunion and the use of NSAIDs after injury (p = 0.000001) and delayed healing was noted in patients who took NSAIDs and whose fractures had united.


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A. H. R. W. Simpson J. Kenwright
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We reviewed 173 patients undergoing distraction osteogenesis to determine the incidence, location and timing of fractures occurring as a complication of the procedure.

There were 17 fractures in 180 lengthened segments giving an overall rate of fracture of 9.4%. Unexpectedly, the pattern and location of the fractures were very variable; six were within the regenerate itself, six at the junction between the regenerate and the original bone and five at distant sites in the limb. Of those occurring in the regenerate, five were noted to be associated with compression and partial collapse of the regenerate. In three patients collapse and deformity developed gradually in the distracted segment over the six months after removal of the frame.

The method of treatment of these fractures should be chosen to take into account multiple factors, which are additional and often different from those to be considered during management of acute traumatic injuries. Internal fixation appears to be most appropriate for displaced fractures, although in small children, or in those in whom there has been, or is, infection of the screw tracks, a new period of treatment using external fixation may be needed. Fixation by intramedullary nailing was associated with a risk of infection, even if screw tracks were assessed as healthy at the time of insertion of the nail. Internal fixation with the use of plates is safe for displaced, unstable fractures in children.


A. Kawai S. I. Backus J. C. Otis H. Inoue J. H. Healey
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We analysed the gait characteristics of 15 patients with prosthetic reconstruction of the proximal femur after resection of a malignant bone tumour using stride analysis and measurement of oxygen consumption. Compared with normal volunteers their gait was slower, with less cadence and reduced stride length. The mean net energy cost of free walking was 141% of normal. The degree of asymmetry of the single-limb support time correlated with the free-walking velocity and the net energy cost. If they used a single cane the subjects walked with less cadence, longer stride length, and prolonged single-limb support times. The net energy cost of walking and asymmetry of the single-limb support time had a negative correlation with the strength of the hip abductor muscles. Their walking performance was better than that of six subjects who had hip disarticulation.


B. K. Chan S. N. Bell
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We describe a patient who developed avascular necrosis of both humeral trochleae after combination chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. This presented as progressive stiffness of both elbows with little pain. Radiography and MRI confirmed the presence of avascular necrosis at both sites. This region corresponds to a watershed between the medial and lateral vascular arcades which supply the distal humerus and may explain the susceptibility of this bony region to avascular necrosis. Treatment involved capsulectomy of the elbow and removal of osteophytes giving a good functional outcome on both sides.


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R. Wedin H. C. F. Bauer L. Skoog V. Söderlund E. Tani
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We have previously shown that cytological diagnosis based on fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is a safe and efficient method for the discrimination between benign, primary malignant and metastatic bony lesions. We have now studied metastatic lesions to assess the diagnostic accuracy and to ascertain whether FNAB allows identification of the primary lesion.

Between 1990 and 1997, 447 patients were referred for diagnosis of skeletal lesions of unknown type. Of these 119 proved to have metastatic disease, either myeloma or lymphoma. Nine were excluded leaving 110 consecutive patients with metastatic carcinoma (80), myeloma (16) or lymphoma (14).

FNAB gave a correct diagnosis in 102 of the 110 patients (93%). In eight it was inconclusive. It correctly diagnosed 15 of 16 patients with myeloma, 12 of 14 with lymphoma, and 75 of 80 with metastatic carcinoma. Furthermore, the site and type of malignancy were correctly suggested in two-thirds of patients with metastatic carcinoma. Overall, only seven open biopsies were carried out.

We conclude that time-consuming and costly investigations can be reduced by choosing FNAB as the initial diagnostic method for skeletal lesions of unknown origin. The choice of radiological examinations, laboratory tests and surgical biopsies can be determined by using FNAB.


E. Gautier K. Ganz N. Krügel T. Gill R. Ganz
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The primary source for the blood supply of the head of the femur is the deep branch of the medial femoral circumflex artery (MFCA). In posterior approaches to the hip and pelvis the short external rotators are often divided. This can damage the deep branch and interfere with perfusion of the head.

We describe the anatomy of the MFCA and its branches based on dissections of 24 cadaver hips after injection of neoprene-latex into the femoral or internal iliac arteries.

The course of the deep branch of the MFCA was constant in its extracapsular segment. In all cases there was a trochanteric branch at the proximal border of quadratus femoris spreading on to the lateral aspect of the greater trochanter. This branch marks the level of the tendon of obturator externus, which is crossed posteriorly by the deep branch of the MFCA. As the deep branch travels superiorly, it crosses anterior to the conjoint tendon of gemellus inferior, obturator internus and gemellus superior. It then perforates the joint capsule at the level of gemellus superior. In its intracapsular segment it runs along the posterosuperior aspect of the neck of the femur dividing into two to four subsynovial retinacular vessels. We demonstrated that obturator externus protected the deep branch of the MFCA from being disrupted or stretched during dislocation of the hip in any direction after serial release of all other soft-tissue attachments of the proximal femur, including a complete circumferential capsulotomy.

Precise knowledge of the extracapsular anatomy of the MFCA and its surrounding structures will help to avoid iatrogenic avascular necrosis of the head of the femur in reconstructive surgery of the hip and fixation of acetabular fractures through the posterior approach.


S. A. Crawford P. D. Siney B. M. Wroblewski
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We have designed a modular cemented femoral component for revision of failed total hip arthroplasty in which deficiency of the proximal femur is such as to require a variable extrafemoral portion of the stem. We present the results of the first 74 operations in 72 patients; 56 of the patients had grade-3 or grade-4 femoral deficiency as defined by Gustilo and Pasternak and 24 had fractures of the proximal femur, of which 22 were periprosthetic. There was or had been infection in 19 hips.

At a mean follow-up of 5 years 9 months (1 to 12 years) nine stems were radiologically loose of which three had been revised. There were no failures in 45 cases in which there was fixation of the distal stem of 10 cm or more. Dislocation occurred in nine patients and there were four cases of infection in the 19 which were, or had been, infected previously. There were no neurovascular complications and no intraoperative femoral fractures.

The femoral bone stock improved radiologically in 45 hips of which 29 showed considerable reformation of the proximal femur; 27 remained unchanged and two showed increasing osteoporosis.


F. S. Haddad S. K. Muirhead-Allwood A. R. J. Manktelow I. Bacarese-Hamilton
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We treated 50 consecutive patients with infected total hip arthroplasties according to a standard protocol. Previous surgery to eradicate the infection had been attempted in 13 patients and discharging sinuses were present in 20. Aspiration arthrography was routinely carried out before our interventions.

The first stage was a meticulous removal of all foreign and potentially infected material. Samples were taken for culture and a thorough lavage carried out. Antibiotic-loaded beads were placed in the femoral shaft and an antibiotic-loaded cement ball in the acetabulum. At the second stage an uncemented arthroplasty was introduced. Bone allograft was used in 18 patients. The interval between procedures was usually three weeks, but this was extended if the wound was slow to heal or there was extensive bony destruction. Appropriate antibiotics were given for three months.

At a mean follow-up of 5.8 years the rate of reinfection was 8% (4 patients). Two of these patients have had another, successful, two-stage revision. At this medium-term review, a satisfactory clinical and radiological outcome was obtained in all except two patients.


Y. Kawaguchi H. Kitagawa H. Nakamura R. Gejo T. Kimura
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We recorded compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) from the diaphragm in 15 normal volunteers, nine patients with lesions of the lower cervical cord (C5 to C8), one completely quadriplegic patient (C6) and seven patients with lesions at a higher cervical level (C1 to C4). Transcranial magnetic stimulation and electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve were carried out.

When the centre of the coil was placed on the interauricular line at a point 3 cm lateral to the vertex on the scalp, the CMAPs from the diaphragm had the largest amplitude and the shortest latency. There was no difference in the mean latency of the CMAPs recorded by transcranial magnetic stimulation in the normal volunteers and in the patients with lesions of the lower cervical cord. In the quadriplegic patient, the latency of the CMAPs was not delayed, but was prolonged in the patients with lesions at a higher level. Those evoked by electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve were not prolonged in the patients with higher lesions.

Our findings suggest that the prolongation of the latency by transcranial magnetic stimulation reflects dysfunction of the higher cervical cord. The combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation and electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve can detect the precise level of the lesion in the motor tract to the diaphragm.


Upper Limb
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A. S. Cole G. A. Hill M. Abela A. J. Carr
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We present three cases of recurrent instability of the elbow in association with the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The pattern of instability has not previously been reported. We describe our procedure for achieving stability using a bone graft to the olecranon fossa which gave a functional range of movement.


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O. N. Yanni C. B. D.’A. Fearn S. C. Gallannaugh R. Joshi
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We report the results of a series of 59 unconstrained total arthroplasties of the elbow after a mean follow-up of 6.5 years (4 to 10). All the patients had rheumatoid arthritis. The indication for surgery was pain in all but one. Outcome was assessed by the Mayo Elbow Performance Index (MEPI).

Of the 59 arthroplasties, two were lost to follow-up. Ten patients died, but as two of their arthroplasties were failures we included them in the results. The outcome in the remaining 49 was excellent in 26 (53%), good in 15 (31%), fair in one (2%) and poor or a failure in seven (14%). There was an improvement in the pain score (p < 0.001), movement (p < 0.001) and function (p < 0.001). Two patients developed instability, but neither required further surgery. There was a mean increase of 21° in flexion and of 7° in extension.

The overall rate of complications was 33.9%. Lesions of the ulnar nerve, one of which did not recover, occurred in four patients, deep infection in two and stiffness in five. The rates of complications were similar to those in recent reports of other elbow arthroplasties.

We carried out a radiological analysis of 39 arthroplasties which showed radiolucent lines around the humeral component in 22 and the ulnar component in 15. There were lower scores on the MEPI for those with radiolucent lines around the humeral component.


The Sprengel deformity Pages 711 - 718
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T.-J. Cho I. H. Choi C. Y. Chung J. K. Hwang
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We evaluated scapular dysplasia and malposition in 15 patients with the Sprengel deformity using three-dimensional CT (3D-CT). The shape, height-to-width ratio, the areas of both scapulae, the anterior curvature of the supraspinous portion and glenoid version were assessed on scapular posterior, medial and inferior views. The degree of rotation and superior displacement were measured on the trunk posterior view. The omovertebral connection was also assessed and correlated with the operative findings.

Most of the affected scapulae had a characteristic shape with a decrease in the height-to-width ratio and were larger than the contralateral scapulae. There was an inverse relationship between scapular rotation and superior displacement. The typical curve of the supraspinous portion of the scapula was seen in only three cases. There was no significant difference in glenoid version. The point of tethering of the omovertebral connection may determine the shape, rotation and superior displacement of the scapula. 3D-CT was helpful in delineating the deformity in detail, and in planning scapuloplasty.


V. J. Takwale P. Calvert H. Rattue
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We diagnosed 50 patients (58 shoulders) with a mean age at presentation of 17.3 years, as having involuntary positional instability of the shoulder. They were managed by a programme consisting of a careful explanation, analysis of abnormal muscle couples and then muscle retraining carried out by a specialist physiotherapist. The mean follow-up was two years. Six shoulders had a poor result, but 52 were graded as good to excellent. Nine patients (12 shoulders) relapsed and required further episodes of retraining.

In our experience, involuntary positional instability of the shoulder causes symptoms which interfere with normal activities; these can be controlled by a treatment plan of retraining of the muscle pattern with functional benefit. Only 19 of the patients were referred with a diagnosis of positional instability. There should be more awareness of this rather uncommon condition. Surgery is not indicated in these patients.


Y. Uchio M. Ochi N. Adachi N. Shu
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For the purpose of investigating the effect of an insole with a lateral wedge, we studied 30 patients (31 knees) aged from 46 to 78 years with idiopathic osteonecrosis of the knee for at least three years. The 18 knees treated with an insole (group I) were matched by age, gender, obesity index, area of lesion, femorotibial angle, stage, and clinical evaluation with 13 treated conservatively without an insole (group II).

The clinical results, as rated by a knee score, improved significantly more in group I than in group II. Radiologically, the necrotic area and ratio decreased in group I, whereas in group II they increased. In advanced cases, with stage 4 or a femorotibial angle of more than 180°, the use of an insole did not improve the clinical or radiological findings. The insole is a valuable method of conservative treatment for the early stages of osteonecrosis of the medial femoral condyle.


General Orthopaedics
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M. Messieh
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There is a narrow line between the benefits and risks of anticoagulant therapy. Many factors influence a patient’s response to warfarin, and careful monitoring is required to ensure that the therapeutic level of anticoagulation is achieved. The purpose of this retrospective review was to examine the relationship between the postoperative response to warfarin and the preoperative level of haemoglobin. The results showed that lower preoperative levels of haemoglobin are associated with an increased response to warfarin (p = 0.01).


Children's Orthopaedics
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M. F. Macnicol R. D. Nadeem
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Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) measure the conduction pathways from the periphery to the brain and can demonstrate the site of neurological impairment in a variety of locomotor conditions.

SSEPs were studied in 44 children (64 feet) with surgically corrected club feet. Four children had unreproducible responses, 18 showed abnormal recordings and 22 showed normal responses. In a further 31 feet (21 children) subjected to motor electrophysiological tests, 16 (52%) were abnormal.

Overall, 44 of 95 feet (46%) showed abnormal SSEPs or motor electrophysiological tests. Neurological abnormality was related both to the severity of the deformity and the surgical outcome. It was seen in 38% of feet with grade-2 and in 53% of feet with grade-3 deformity. A fair surgical result was obtained in 36% of feet with a conduction deficit and in only 6% with no abnormality. These results suggest an association between neurological abnormality as demonstrated by SSEPs or motor electrophysiological studies and the severity of deformity in club foot and its response to surgical treatment.


R. A. Dunsmuir D. A. Sherlock
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Our aim was to determine the outcome of the treatment of trigger thumb in children. There was a rate of spontaneous recovery of 49% in those children whose thumbs were observed before a final decision to operate was made. Spontaneous recovery occurred more commonly in children over 12 months old. All patients treated by operation had a satisfactory outcome with few complications. The overall rate of recurrence was 4.0% and it was more common in younger children. Our results suggest that a conservative approach to surgery for this condition could be adopted.


M. G. Uglow N. M. P. Clarke
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Between 1988 and 1995, we studied 91 club feet from a series of 120 recalcitrant feet in 86 patients requiring surgical treatment. There were 48 boys and 20 girls. The mean age at operation was 8.9 months. Surgery consisted of an initial plantar medial release followed two weeks later by a posterolateral release. This strategy was adopted specifically to address the problems of wound healing associated with single-stage surgery and to ascertain the rate of relapse after a two-stage procedure. Immobilisation in plaster was used for three months followed by night splintage. The feet were classified preoperatively and prospectively into four grades according to the system suggested by Dimeglio et al. Grade-1 feet were postural and did not require surgery. All wounds were closed primarily. One superficial wound infection occurred in a grade-4 foot and there were no cases of wound breakdown. The rate of relapse was 20.4% in grade-3 and 65.4% in grade-4 feet.

Two-stage surgery for the treatment of club foot seems to be effective in the reduction of wound problems but does not appear to give significantly better results in terms of relapse when performed for more severe deformities.


W. D. C. Kealey E. E. Mayne W. McDonald P. Murray A. P. Cosgrove
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Recent reports have suggested an association between Perthes’ disease and an underlying thrombophilic or hypofibrinolytic tendency. In Northern Ireland there is a high incidence of Perthes’ disease (11.7 per 100 000 or 1 in 607 children) in a stable paediatric population.

We reviewed 139 children with Perthes’ disease and compared them with a control group of 220 aged- and gender-matched healthy primary schoolchildren with similar racial and ethnic backgrounds.

There were no significant deficiencies of antithrombotic factors protein C, protein S, antithrombin III or resistance to activated protein C. A total of 53 (38.1%) of the children with Perthes’ disease had a prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (> 38) compared with 13 (5.9%) of the control group (p < 0.001). Our findings have shown that using standard assays, thrombophilia secondary to antithrombotic factor deficiency or resistance to activated protein does not appear to be an aetiological factor for Perthes’ disease. The cause of the prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time, usually associated with a clotting factor deficiency, is under further investigation.


C. P. Case V. G. Langkamer R. J. Lock M. J. Perry M. R. Palmer A. J. Kemp
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We compared the peripheral blood and periprosthetic tissues of 53 patients at revision arthroplasty with those of 30 patients at primary arthroplasty to determine whether there is a systemic difference in lymphocytes in patients with worn hip implants. The absolute number and relative proportion of lymphocytes bearing CD2, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD19, HLA-DR, kappa and lambda antigens were compared with the levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and PGE2 in the pseudosynovial membrane as well as with a semiquantitative estimate of metal and polyethylene particles, necrosis and chronic inflammation and the total concentration of metals within the periprosthetic tissues.

There was a significant increase in the relative proportion of CD2-positive T-cells and CD16-positive natural killer cells in the peripheral blood at revision arthroplasty compared with primary arthroplasty and an increased proportion of CD8-positive T-cells and a decreased ratio of CD4 to CD8 (helper inducer/suppressor cytotoxic cells). Three control patients, who went on to have revision surgery, had values at primary arthroplasty which were similar to those of patients at the time of revision surgery. These differences did not correlate with the local concentration of metal, plastic or cement or inflammatory response or the type of prosthesis. An inverse correlation was noted between the necrosis in the periprosthetic tissue and both the local production of IL-6 and the absolute numbers of T-cells in peripheral blood.

We conclude that there may be several cell-mediated systemic immune responses to aseptic loosening, at least one of which may be directly related to events in the periprosthetic tissues. We cannot exclude the possibility that the changes in the proportion of CD8-positive cells reflected a predisposition, rather than a reaction, to loosening of the implant.


G. M. Ferrier A. McEvoy C. E. Evans J. G. Andrew
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Aseptic loosening and osteolysis around prosthetic joints are the principal causes of failure and consequent revision. During this process activated macrophages produce cytokines which are thought to promote osteolysis by osteoclasts. Changes in pressure within the space around implants have been proposed as a cause of loosening and osteolysis. We therefore studied the effect of two different regimes of cyclic pressure on the production of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) by cultured human monocyte-derived (M-D) macrophages. There was a wide variation in the expression of cytokines in non-stimulated M-D macrophages from different donors and therefore cells from the same donor were compared under control and pressurised conditions.

Both regimes of cyclic pressure were found to increase expression of IL-6 and TNF-α. Expression of IL-1β was increased by a higher-frequency regime only. Our findings suggest that M-D macrophages are activated by cyclic pressure. Further work will be required to understand the relative roles of frequency, amplitude and duration of applied pressure in the cellular effects of cyclic pressure in this system.


H. Watanabe T. Shinozaki T. Yanagawa J. Aoki M. Tokunaga T. Inoue K. Endo S. Mohara K. Sano K. Takagishi
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We performed positron emission tomography (PET) with 18fluorine-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) on 55 patients with tumours involving the musculoskeletal system in order to evaluate its role in operative planning. The standardised uptake value (SUV) of FDG was calculated and, to distinguish malignancies from benign lesions, the cases were divided into high (≥ 1.9) and low (< 1.9) SUV groups.

The sensitivity of PET for correctly diagnosing malignancy was 100% with a specificity of 76.9% and an overall accuracy of 83.0%. The mean SUV for metastatic lesions was twice that for primary sarcomas (p < 0.0015).

Our results suggest that the SUV may be useful in differentiating malignant tumours from benign lesions. However, some of the latter, such as schwannomas, had high SUVs so that biopsy or wide resection was selected as the first operation. Thus, some other quantitative analysis may be required for preoperative planning in cases of high-SUV neurogenic benign tumours. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that the RNA message of a key enzyme in glucose metabolism, phosphohexose isomerase (PHI)/autocrine motility factor, was augmented in only high FDG-uptake lesions, suggesting that a high expression of the PHI message may be associated with accumulation of FDG in musculoskeletal tumours.


T. D. Bunker J. Reilly K. S. Baird D. L. Hamblen
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Frozen shoulder is a chronic fibrosing condition of the capsule of the joint. The predominant cells involved are fibroblasts and myofibroblasts which lay down a dense matrix of type-I and type-III collagen within the capsule. This subsequently contracts leading to the typical features of pain and stiffness. Cytokines and growth factors regulate the growth and function of the fibroblasts of connective tissue and remodelling of the matrix is controlled by the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their inhibitors.

Our aim was to determine whether there was an abnormal expression or secretion of cytokines, growth factors and MMPs in tissue samples from 14 patients with frozen shoulder using the reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction (RT/PCR) technique and to compare the findings with those in tissue from four normal control shoulders and from five patients with Dupuytren’s contracture.

Tissue from frozen shoulders demonstrated the presence of mRNA for a large number of cytokines and growth factors although the frequency was only slightly higher than in the control tissue. The frequency for a positive signal for the proinflammatory cytokines Il-1β and TNF-α and TNF-β, was not as great as in the Dupuytren’s tissue. The presence of mRNA for fibrogenic growth factors was, however, more similar to that obtained in the control and Dupuytren’s tissue. This correlated with the histological findings which in most specimens showed a dense fibrous tissue response with few cells other than mature fibroblasts and with very little evidence of any active inflammatory cell process. Positive expressions of the mRNA for the MMPs were also increased, together with their natural inhibitor TIMP. The notable exception compared with control and Dupuytren’s tissue was the absence of MMP-14, which is known to be a membrane-type MMP required for the activation of MMP-2 (gelatinase A).

Understanding the control mechanisms which play a part in the pathogenesis of frozen shoulder may lead to the development of new regimes of treatment for this common, protracted and painful chronic fibrosing condition.


M. G. MATTHEWS
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I. T. SHARPE G. VAN STADEN
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Authors’ reply Pages 774 - 774
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M. WASEEM N. W. KENNY
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Authors’ reply Pages 774 - 774
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M. WASEEM N. W. KENNY
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S. B. TIBREWAL
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Authors’ reply Pages 775 - 776
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H. S. GOSAL A. M. JACKSON D. R. BICKERSTAFF
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Authors’ reply Pages 775 - 775
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M. WASEEM N. W. KENNY
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W. R. C. PECKETT A. BUTLER-MANUEL
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A. GUTOW
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Authors’ reply Pages 776 - 776
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N. DAVIS A. K. GAMBHIR P. R. KAY
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The growing hand. Pages 777 - 778
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John Fixsen
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D. A. Ritchie
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M. P. Shrivastava
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M. Laurance
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Sarah Burnett
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Corrections Pages 780 - 780
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