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Volume 94-B, Issue 10 October 2012

In the footsteps of giants Pages 1297 - 1297
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S. P. F. Hughes A. J. Freemont D. W. L. Hukins A. H. McGregor S. Roberts

This article reviews the current knowledge of the intervertebral disc (IVD) and its association with low back pain (LBP). The normal IVD is a largely avascular and aneural structure with a high water content, its nutrients mainly diffusing through the end plates. IVD degeneration occurs when its cells die or become dysfunctional, notably in an acidic environment. In the process of degeneration, the IVD becomes dehydrated and vascularised, and there is an ingrowth of nerves. Although not universally the case, the altered physiology of the IVD is believed to precede or be associated with many clinical symptoms or conditions including low back and/or lower limb pain, paraesthesia, spinal stenosis and disc herniation.

New treatment options have been developed in recent years. These include biological therapies and novel surgical techniques (such as total disc replacement), although many of these are still in their experimental phase. Central to developing further methods of treatment is the need for effective ways in which to assess patients and measure their outcomes. However, significant difficulties remain and it is therefore an appropriate time to be further investigating the scientific basis of and treatment of LBP.

J. Adams C. Ryall A. Pandyan C. Metcalf M. Stokes S. Bradley D. J. Warwick

We systematically reviewed all the evidence published in the English language on proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) replacement, to determine its effectiveness on the function of the hand and the associated post-operative complications.

Original studies were selected if they reported clinical outcome with a minimum of one year’s follow-up. Quality was assessed using the Cowley systematic review criteria modified for finger-joint replacements. Of 319 articles identified, only five were adequately reported according to our quality criteria; there were no randomised controlled trials. PIPJ replacements had a substantial effect size on hand pain of -23.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) -27.3 to -19.1) and grip strength 1.2 (95% CI -10.7 to 13.1), and a small effect on range of movement 0.2 (95% CI -0.4 to 0.8). A dorsal approach was most successful. Post-operative loosening occurred in 10% (95% CI 3 to 30) of ceramic and 12.5% (95% CI 7 to 21) of pyrocarbon replacements. Post-operative complications occurred in 27.8% (95% CI 20 to 37).

We conclude that the effectiveness of PIPJ replacement has not been established. Small observational case studies and short-term follow-up, together with insufficient reporting of patient data, functional outcomes and complications, limit the value of current evidence.

We recommend that a defined core set of patients, surgical and outcome data for this intervention be routinely and systematically collected within the framework of a joint registry.

General Orthopaedics
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R. G. Middleton F. Shabani C. E. Uzoigwe A. Shoaib M. Moqsith M. Venkatesan

Osteoporosis is common and the health and financial cost of fragility fractures is considerable. The burden of cardiovascular disease has been reduced dramatically by identifying and targeting those most at risk. A similar approach is potentially possible in the context of fragility fractures. The World Health Organization created and endorsed the use of FRAX, a fracture risk assessment tool, which uses selected risk factors to calculate a quantitative, patient-specific, ten-year risk of sustaining a fragility fracture. Treatment can thus be based on this as well as on measured bone mineral density. It may also be used to determine at-risk individuals, who should undergo bone densitometry. FRAX has been incorporated into the national osteoporosis guidelines of countries in the Americas, Europe, the Far East and Australasia. The United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also advocates its use in their guidance on the assessment of the risk of fragility fracture, and it may become an important tool to combat the health challenges posed by fragility fractures.

S. S. Sarmah S. Patel F. S. Hossain F. S. Haddad

Radiological assessment of total and unicompartmental knee replacement remains an essential part of routine care and follow-up. Appreciation of the various measurements that can be identified radiologically is important. It is likely that routine plain radiographs will continue to be used, although there has been a trend towards using newer technologies such as CT, especially in a failing knee, where it provides more detailed information, albeit with a higher radiation exposure.

The purpose of this paper is to outline the radiological parameters used to evaluate knee replacements, describe how these are measured or classified, and review the current literature to determine their efficacy where possible.

R. S. Namba M. C. S. Inacio E. W. Paxton

We examined patient and surgical factors associated with deep surgical site infection (SSI) following total hip replacement (THR) in a large integrated healthcare system. A retrospective review of a cohort of primary THRs performed between 2001 and 2009 was conducted. Patient characteristics, surgical details, surgeon and hospital volumes, and SSIs were identified using the Kaiser Permanente Total Joint Replacement Registry (TJRR). Proportional-hazard regression models were used to assess risk factors for SSI. The study cohort consisted of 30 491 THRs, of which 17 474 (57%) were performed on women. The mean age of the patients in the whole series was 65.5 years (13 to 97; sd 11.8) and the mean body mass index was 29.3 kg/m2 (15 to 67; sd 5.9). The incidence of SSI was 0.51% (155 of 30 491). Patient factors associated with SSI included female gender, obesity, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score 3. Age, diagnosis, diabetes and race were not associated with SSI. The only surgical factor associated with SSI was a bilateral procedure. Surgeon and hospital volumes, use of antibiotic-laden cement, fixation method, laminar flow, body exhaust suits, surgical approach and fellowship training were not associated with risk of SSI.

A comprehensive infection surveillance system, combined with a TJRR, identified patient and surgical factors associated with SSI. Obesity and chronic medical conditions should be addressed prior to THR. The finding of increased SSI risk with bilateral THR requires further investigation.

M. B. Cross M. M. Dolan G. S. Sidhu J. Nguyen D. J. Mayman E. P. Su

The purpose of this study was to compare the amount of acetabular bone removed during hip resurfacing (HR) and cementless total hip replacement (THR), after controlling for the diameter of the patient’s native femoral head. Based on a power analysis, 64 consecutive patients (68 hips) undergoing HR or THR were prospectively enrolled in the study. The following data were recorded intra-operatively: the diameter of the native femoral head, the largest reamer used, the final size of the acetabular component, the size of the prosthetic femoral head and whether a decision was made to increase the size of the acetabular component in order to accommodate a larger prosthetic femoral head. Results were compared using two-sided, independent samples Student’s t-tests. A statistically significant difference was seen in the mean ratio of the size of the acetabular component to the diameter of the native femoral head (HR: 1.05 (sd 0.04) versus THR: 1.09 (sd 0.05); p <  0.001) and largest acetabular reamer used to the diameter of the native femoral head (HR: 1.03 (sd 0.04) versus THR: 1.09 (sd 0.05); p < 0.001). The ratios varied minimally when the groups were subdivided by gender, age and obesity. The decision to increase the size of the acetabular component to accommodate a larger femoral head occurred more often in the THR group (27% versus 9%). Despite the emphasis on avoiding damage to the femoral neck during HR, the ratio of the size of the acetabular component to the diameter of the native femoral head was larger in cementless THR than in HR.

J. O. Penny M. Ding J. E. Varmarken O. Ovesen S. Overgaard

Radiostereometric analysis (RSA) can detect early micromovement in unstable implant designs which are likely subsequently to have a high failure rate. In 2010, the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) was withdrawn because of a high failure rate. In 19 ASR femoral components, the mean micromovement over the first two years after implantation was 0.107 mm (sd 0.513) laterally, 0.055 mm (sd 0.204) distally and 0.150 mm (sd 0.413) anteriorly. The mean backward tilt around the x-axis was -0.08° (sd 1.088), mean internal rotation was 0.165° (sd 0.924) and mean varus tilt 0.238° (sd 0.420). The baseline to two-year varus tilt was statistically significant from zero movement, but there was no significant movement from one year onwards.

We conclude that the ASR femoral component achieves initial stability and that early migration is not the mode of failure for this resurfacing arthroplasty.

R. A. Collins P. J. Walmsley A. K. Amin I. J. Brenkel R. A. E. Clayton

A total of 445 consecutive primary total knee replacements (TKRs) were followed up prospectively at six and 18 months and three, six and nine years. Patients were divided into two groups: non-obese (body mass index (BMI) < 30 kg/m2) and obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). The obese group was subdivided into mildly obese (BMI 30 to 35 kg/m2) and highly obese (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2) in order to determine the effects of increasing obesity on outcome. The clinical data analysed included the Knee Society score, peri-operative complications and implant survival. There was no difference in the overall complication rates or implant survival between the two groups.

Obesity appears to have a small but significant adverse effect on clinical outcome, with highly obese patients showing lower function scores than non-obese patients. However, significant improvements in outcome are sustained in all groups nine years after TKR. Given the substantial, sustainable relief of symptoms after TKR and the low peri-operative complication and revision rates in these two groups, we have found no reason to limit access to TKR in obese patients.

M. R. Streit T. Walker T. Bruckner C. Merle J. P. Kretzer M. Clarius P. R. Aldinger T. Gotterbarm

The Oxford mobile-bearing unicompartmental knee replacement (UKR) is an effective and safe treatment for osteoarthritis of the medial compartment. The results in the lateral compartment have been disappointing due to a high early rate of dislocation of the bearing. A series using a newly designed domed tibial component is reported.

The first 50 consecutive domed lateral Oxford UKRs in 50 patients with a mean follow-up of three years (2.0 to 4.3) were included. Clinical scores were obtained prospectively and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed for different endpoints. Radiological variables related to the position and alignment of the components were measured.

One patient died and none was lost to follow-up. The cumulative incidence of dislocation was 6.2% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0 to 17.9) at three years. Survival using revision for any reason and aseptic revision was 94% (95% CI 82 to 98) and 96% (95% CI 85 to 99) at three years, respectively. Outcome scores, visual analogue scale for pain and maximum knee flexion showed a significant improvement (p < 0.001). The mean Oxford knee score was 43 (sd 5.3), the mean Objective American Knee Society score was 91 (sd 13.9) and the mean Functional American Knee Society score was 90 (sd 17.5). The mean maximum flexion was 127° (90° to 145°). Significant elevation of the lateral joint line as measured by the proximal tibial varus angle (p = 0.04) was evident in the dislocation group when compared with the non-dislocation group.

Clinical results are excellent and short-term survival has improved when compared with earlier series. The risk of dislocation remains higher using a mobile-bearing UKR in the lateral compartment when compared with the medial compartment. Patients should be informed about this complication. To avoid dislocations, care must be taken not to elevate the lateral joint line.

R. B. Seah H. N. Pang N. N. Lo H. C. Chong P. L. Chin S. L. Chia S. J. Yeo

The success of total knee replacement (TKR) depends on optimal soft-tissue balancing, among many other factors. The objective of this study is to correlate post-operative anteroposterior (AP) translation of a posterior cruciate ligament-retaining TKR with clinical outcome at two years. In total 100 patients were divided into three groups based on their AP translation as measured by the KT-1000 arthrometer. Group 1 patients had AP translation < 5 mm, Group 2 had AP translation from 5 mm to 10 mm, and Group 3 had AP translation >  10 mm. Outcome assessment included range of movement of the knee, the presence of flexion contractures, hyperextension, knee mechanical axes and functional outcome using the Knee Society score, Oxford knee score and the Short-Form 36 questionnaire.

At two years, patients in Group 2 reported significantly better Oxford knee scores than the other groups (p = 0.045). A positive correlation between range of movement and AP translation was noted, with patients in group 3 having the greatest range of movement (mean flexion: 117.9° (106° to 130°)) (p < 0.001). However, significantly more patients in Group 3 developed hyperextension > 10° (p = 0.01).

In this study, the best outcome for cruciate-ligament retaining TKR was achieved in patients with an AP translation of 5 mm to 10 mm.

B. G. Pijls E. R. Valstar B. L. Kaptein R. G. H. H. Nelissen

This single-blinded randomised controlled trial investigated whether one design of mobile-bearing (MB) total knee replacement (TKR) has any advantage over a fixed-bearing (FB) design on long-term fixation as measured by radiostereometry. The amount of wear underneath the mobile bearing was also evaluated. A series of 42 knees was randomised to MB or FB tibial components with appropriate polyethylene inserts and followed for between ten and 12 years, or until the death of the patient. The polyethylene in the MB group was superior in that it was gamma-irradiated in inert gas and was calcium-stearate free; the polyethylene in the FB group was gamma-irradiated in air and contained calcium stearate. In theory this should be advantageous to the wear rate of the MB group. At final follow-up the overall mean migration was 0.75 mm (sd 0.76) in the MB group and 0.66 mm (sd 0.4) in the FB group, with the FB group demonstrating more posterior tilt and the MB group more internal rotation. In the FB group there was one revision for aseptic loosening, but none in the MB group. There were no significant differences in clinical or radiological scores.

For the MB group, the mean linear wear rate on the under-surface was 0.026 mm/year (sd 0.014). This was significantly smaller than the wear rate of 0.11 mm/year (sd 0.06) in the MB between femur and polyethylene (p < 0.001). Nevertheless, even in a best-case setting the mobile bearings of this TKR design had no apparent advantage in terms of fixation over the FB knee prosthesis at ten to 12 years. The wear underneath the mobile bearing was small and is unlikely to be clinically relevant.

M. Komzák R. Hart F. Okál A. Safi

The biomechanical function of the anteromedial (AM) and posterolateral (PL) bundles of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) remains controversial. Some studies report that the AM bundle stabilises the knee joint in anteroposterior (AP) translation and rotational movement (both internal and external) to the same extent as the PL bundle. Others conclude that the PL bundle is more important than the AM in controlling rotational movement.

The objective of this randomised cohort study involving 60 patients (39 men and 21 women) with a mean age of 32.9 years (18 to 53) was to evaluate the function of the AM and the PL bundles of the ACL in both AP and rotational movements of the knee joint after single-bundle and double-bundle ACL reconstruction using a computer navigation system. In the double-bundle group the patients were also randomised to have the AM or the PL bundle tensioned first, with knee laxity measured after each stage of reconstruction. All patients had isolated complete ACL tears, and the presence of a meniscal injury was the only supplementary pathology permitted for inclusion in the trial. The KT-1000 arthrometer was used to apply a constant load to evaluate the AP translation and the rolimeter was used to apply a constant rotational force. For the single-bundle group deviation was measured before and after ACL reconstruction. In the double-bundle group deviation was measured for the ACL-deficient, AM- or PL-reconstructed first conditions and for the total reconstruction.

We found that the AM bundle in the double-bundle group controlled rotation as much as the single-bundle technique, and to a greater extent than the PL bundle in the double-bundle technique. The double-bundle technique increases AP translation and rotational stability in internal rotation more than the single-bundle technique.

P. K. Jaiswal G. Bentley R. W. J. Carrington J. A. Skinner T. W. R. Briggs

We analysed whether a high body mass index (BMI) had a deleterious effect on outcome following autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) or matrix-carried autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) for the treatment of full-thickness chondral defects of the knee from a subset of patients enrolled in the ACI vs MACI trial at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

The mean Modified Cincinnati scores (MCS) were significantly higher (p < 0.001) post-operatively in patients who had an ideal body weight (n = 53; 20 to 24.9 kg/m2) than in overweight (n = 63; 25 to 30 kg/m2) and obese patients (n = 22; > 30 kg/m2). At a follow-up of two years, obese patients demonstrated no sustained improvement in the MCS. Patients with an ideal weight experienced significant improvements as early as six months after surgery (p = 0.007). In total, 82% of patients (31 of 38) in the ideal group had a good or excellent result, compared with 49% (22 of 45) of the overweight and 5.5% (one of 18) in the obese group (p < 0.001). There was a significant negative relationship between BMI and the MCS 24 months after surgery (r = -0.4, p = 0.001).

This study demonstrates that obese patients have worse knee function before surgery and experience no sustained benefit from ACI or MACI at two years after surgery. There was a correlation between increasing BMI and a lower MCS according to a linear regression analysis. On the basis of our findings patient selection can be more appropriately targeted.

M. D. Sewell S. N. Kang N. Al-Hadithy D. S. Higgs I. Bayley M. Falworth S. M. Lambert

There is little information about the management of peri-prosthetic fracture of the humerus after total shoulder replacement (TSR). This is a retrospective review of 22 patients who underwent a revision of their original shoulder replacement for peri-prosthetic fracture of the humerus with bone loss and/or loose components. There were 20 women and two men with a mean age of 75 years (61 to 90) and a mean follow-up 42 months (12 to 91): 16 of these had undergone a previous revision TSR. Of the 22 patients, 12 were treated with a long-stemmed humeral component that bypassed the fracture. All their fractures united after a mean of 27 weeks (13 to 94). Eight patients underwent resection of the proximal humerus with endoprosthetic replacement to the level of the fracture. Two patients were managed with a clam-shell prosthesis that retained the original components. The mean Oxford shoulder score (OSS) of the original TSRs before peri-prosthetic fracture was 33 (14 to 48). The mean OSS after revision for fracture was 25 (9 to 31). Kaplan-Meier survival using re-intervention for any reason as the endpoint was 91% (95% confidence interval (CI) 68 to 98) and 60% (95% CI 30 to 80) at one and five years, respectively.

There were two revisions for dislocation of the humeral head, one open reduction for modular humeral component dissociation, one internal fixation for nonunion, one trimming of a prominent screw and one re-cementation for aseptic loosening complicated by infection, ultimately requiring excision arthroplasty. Two patients sustained nerve palsies.

Revision TSR after a peri-prosthetic humeral fracture associated with bone loss and/or loose components is a salvage procedure that can provide a stable platform for elbow and hand function. Good rates of union can be achieved using a stem that bypasses the fracture. There is a high rate of complications and function is not as good as with the original replacement.

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C. L. Bendon H. P. Giele

Injectable collagenase is an alternative to surgical treatment for Dupuytren’s disease. Previous studies have reported on the effectiveness of collagenase in finger contractures. This prospective study reports on the short-term safety and efficacy of collagenase treatment in five thumb and first web space Dupuytren’s contractures. The thumb and first web space contractures were treated with injectable collagenase in four consecutive patients (five hands) with experience of previous surgical digital fasciectomy. The thumb contracture was measured by angle and span in two planes of thumb extension and abduction before injection and after manipulation. Collagenase treatment resulted in release of the contracture with a mean increase in thumb to index angle from 23° (10° to 35°) to 56° (45° to 60°) in extension and from 30° (10° to 50°) to 58° (50° to 65°) in abduction and a mean increase in span from 1.9 cm (1 to 3.5) to 3.9 cm (3 to 5) in extension and from 2.4 cm (1.5 to 3.5) to 3.9 cm (3 to 4.5) in abduction. All patients reported an increased range of movement and function and described collagenase therapy as preferable to surgery. In the short-term collagenase is an effective, well-tolerated and safe alternative to surgery for Dupuytren’s disease of the thumb.

M. Mattila T. Jalanko V. Puisto O. Pajulo I. J. Helenius

We compared the clinical, radiological and quality-of-life outcomes between hybrid and total pedicle screw instrumentation in patients undergoing surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis. A matched comparison using prospectively collected data was undertaken. A total of 66 patients underwent posterior or anteroposterior correction and fusion with hybrid (n = 33, mean age at surgery 15.8 years (9.10 to 19.6)) or total pedicle screw instrumentation (n = 33, mean age 14.7 years (7.0 to 20.7)) with a minimum follow-up of two years. The major curve pre-operatively was a mean of 87° (sd 29, 25° to 141°) and 81° (sd 18, 47° to 116°) in the hybrid and total pedicle screw groups, respectively (p = 0.29) and at a minimum of two years it was 33° (sd 20; 2° to 87°) and 20° (sd 12; 1° to 55°), respectively (p = 0.0016). The mean correction of the major curve was 59% (41% to 88%) in the hybrid and 75% (43% to 99%) in the total pedicle screw groups at two-year follow-up (p = 0.0011). The mean operating time was 7.45 hours (sd 2.18) and 6.04 hours (sd 1.71) in the hybrid and total pedicle screw groups, respectively (p = 0.001), and the mean intra-operative blood loss was 3760 ml (sd 2790) and 1785 ml (sd 1110), respectively (p = 0.001).

Total pedicle screw instrumentation provided shorter operating times, less blood loss and better correction of the major curve compared with hybrid constructs in patients undergoing surgery for neuromuscular scoliosis.

Spondylodiscitis in infancy Pages 1399 - 1402
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A. I. Tsirikos F. Tome-Bermejo

An eight-week-old boy developed severe thoracic spondylodiscitis following pneumonia and septicaemia. A delay in diagnosis resulted in complete destruction of the T4 and T5 vertebral bodies and adjacent discs, with a paraspinal abscess extending into the mediastinum and epidural space. Antibiotic treatment controlled the infection and the abscess was aspirated. At the age of six months, he underwent posterior spinal fusion in situ to stabilise the spine and prevent progressive kyphosis. At the age of 13 months, repeat imaging showed lack of anterior vertebral body re-growth and he underwent anterior spinal fusion from T3 to T6 and augmentation of the posterior fusion. At the age of five years, he had no symptoms and radiographs showed bony fusion across the affected levels.

Spondylodiscitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of infants who present with severe illness and atypical symptoms. Delayed diagnosis can result in major spinal complications with a potentially fatal outcome.

P. F. W. Hannemann K. W. A. Göttgens B. J. van Wely K. A. Kolkman A. J. Werre M. Poeze P. R. G. Brink

The use of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) to stimulate bone growth has been recommended as an alternative to the surgical treatment of ununited scaphoid fractures, but has never been examined in acute fractures. We hypothesised that the use of PEMF in acute scaphoid fractures would accelerate the time to union by 30% in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. A total of 53 patients in three different medical centres with a unilateral undisplaced acute scaphoid fracture were randomly assigned to receive either treatment with PEMF (n = 24) or a placebo (n = 29). The clinical and radiological outcomes were assessed at four, six, nine, 12, 24 and 52 weeks.

A log-rank analysis showed that neither time to clinical and radiological union nor the functional outcome differed significantly between the groups. The clinical assessment of union indicated that at six weeks tenderness in the anatomic snuffbox (p = 0.03) as well as tenderness on longitudinal compression of the scaphoid (p = 0.008) differed significantly in favour of the placebo group.

We conclude that stimulation of bone growth by PEMF has no additional value in the conservative treatment of acute scaphoid fractures.

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V. I. Roberts B. Komarasamy R. Pandey

Controversy surrounds the management of displaced three- and four-part fractures of the proximal humerus. The percutaneous Resch technique of stabilisation involves minimal soft-tissue dissection and a reduced risk of stiffness and avascular necrosis. However, it requires a second operation to remove Kirschner wires and the humeral block. We describe a modification of this technique that dispenses with the need for this second operation and relies on a sequential pattern of screw placement. We report the outcome of 32 three- or four-part fractures of the proximal humerus treated in this way at a mean follow-up of 3.8 years (2 to 8)). There were 14 men and 18 women with a mean age of 56 years (28 to 83). At final follow-up the mean Oxford shoulder scores were 38 (31 to 44) and 39 (31 to 42), and the mean Constant scores were 79 (65 to 92) and 72 (70 to 80) for three- and four-part fractures, respectively. We further analysed the results in patients aged < 60 years with high-energy fractures and those aged ≥ 60 years with osteoporotic fractures. There were no cases of nonunion or avascular necrosis.

The results were good and comparable to those previously reported for the Resch technique and other means of fixation for proximal humeral fractures. We would recommend this modification of the technique for the treatment of displaced three-part and four-part fractures in patients both younger and older than 60 years of age.

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H. S. Cho J. H. Oh I. Han H-S. Kim

We evaluated the oncological and functional outcome of 18 patients, whose malignant bone tumours were excised with the assistance of navigation, and who were followed up for more than three years. There were 11 men and seven women, with a mean age of 31.8 years (10 to 57). There were ten operations on the pelvic ring and eight joint-preserving limb salvage procedures. The resection margins were free of tumour in all specimens. The tumours, which were stage IIB in all patients, included osteosarcoma, high-grade chondrosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone, and adamantinoma. The overall three-year survival rate of the 18 patients was 88.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 75.4 to 100). The three-year survival rate of the patients with pelvic malignancy was 80.0% (95% CI 55.3 to 100), and of the patients with metaphyseal malignancy was 100%. The event-free survival was 66.7% (95% CI 44.9 to 88.5). Local recurrence occurred in two patients, both of whom had a pelvic malignancy. The mean Musculoskeletal Tumor Society functional score was 26.9 points at a mean follow-up of 48.2 months (22 to 79).

We suggest that navigation can be helpful during surgery for musculoskeletal tumours; it can maximise the accuracy of resection and minimise the unnecessary sacrifice of normal tissue by providing precise intra-operative three-dimensional radiological information.

M. R. Makarov M. L. Samchukov J. G. Birch A. M. Cherkashin S. P. Sparagana M. R. Delgado

We undertook a retrospective analysis of 306 procedures on 233 patients, with a mean age of 12 years (1 to 21), in order to evaluate the use of somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring for the early detection of nerve compromise during external fixation procedures for limb lengthening and correction of deformity. Significant SSEP changes were identified during 58 procedures (19%). In 32 instances (10.5%) the changes were transient, and resolved once the surgical cause had been removed. The remaining 26 (8.5%) were analysed in two groups, depending on whether or not corrective action had been performed in response to critical changes in the SSEP recordings. In 16 cases in which no corrective action was taken, 13 (81.2%, 4.2% overall) developed a post-operative neurological deficit, six of which were permanent and seven temporary, persisting for five to 18 months. In the ten procedures in which corrective action was taken, four patients (40%, 1.3% overall) had a temporary (one to eight months) post-operative neuropathy and six had no deficit.

After appropriate intervention in response to SSEP changes, the incidence and severity of neurological deficits were significantly reduced, with no cases of permanent neuropathy. SSEP monitoring showed 100% sensitivity and 91% specificity for the detection of nerve injury during external fixation. It is an excellent diagnostic technique for identifying nerve lesions when they are still highly reversible.

General Orthopaedics
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C. G. Chassanidis K. N. Malizos S. Varitimidis S. Samara T. Koromila P. Kollia Z. Dailiana

Periosteum is important for bone homoeostasis through the release of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their effect on osteoprogenitor cells. Smoking has an adverse effect on fracture healing and bone regeneration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of smoking on the expression of the BMPs of human periosteum. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed for BMP-2,-4,-6,-7 gene expression in periosteal samples obtained from 45 fractured bones (19 smokers, 26 non-smokers) and 60 non-fractured bones (21 smokers, 39 non-smokers). A hierarchical model of BMP gene expression (BMP-2 > BMP-6 > BMP-4 > BMP-7) was demonstrated in all samples. When smokers and non-smokers were compared, a remarkable reduction in the gene expression of BMP-2, -4 and -6 was noticed in smokers. The comparison of fracture and non-fracture groups demonstrated a higher gene expression of BMP-2, -4 and -7 in the non-fracture samples. Within the subgroups (fracture and non-fracture), BMP gene expression in smokers was either lower but without statistical significance in the majority of BMPs, or similar to that in non-smokers with regard to BMP-4 in fracture and BMP-7 in non-fracture samples. In smokers, BMP gene expression of human periosteum was reduced, demonstrating the effect of smoking at the molecular level by reduction of mRNA transcription of periosteal BMPs. Among the BMPs studied, BMP-2 gene expression was significantly higher, highlighting its role in bone homoeostasis.

W-L. Lam X. Guo K-S. Leung K. S. C. Kwong

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that the sensory innervation of bone might play an important role in sensing and responding to low-intensity pulsed ultrasound and explain its effect in promoting fracture healing. In 112 rats a standardised mid-shaft tibial fracture was created, supported with an intramedullary needle and divided into four groups of 28. These either had a sciatic neurectomy or a patellar tendon resection as control, and received the ultrasound or not as a sham treatment. Fracture union, callus mineralisation and remodelling were assessed using plain radiography, peripheral quantitative computed tomography and histomorphology.

Daily ultrasound treatment significantly increased the rate of union and the volumetric bone mineral density in the fracture callus in the neurally intact rats (p = 0.025), but this stimulating effect was absent in the rats with sciatic neurectomy. Histomorphology demonstrated faster maturation of the callus in the group treated with ultrasound when compared with the control group. The results supported the hypothesis that intact innervation plays an important role in allowing low-intensity pulsed ultrasound to promote fracture healing.

Exam Corner – October 2012 Pages 1439 - 1440
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V. Khanduja

The FRCS (Tr & Orth) examination has three components: MCQs, Vivas and Clinical Examination. The Vivas are further divided into four sections comprising Basic Science, Adult Pathology, Hands and Children’s Orthopaedics and Trauma. The Clinical Examination section is divided into Upper and Lower limb cases. The aim of this section in the Journal is to focus specifically on the trainees preparing for the exam and to cater to all the sections of the exam. The vision is to complete the cycle of all relevant exam topics (as per the syllabus) in four years.