header advert
The Bone & Joint Journal Logo

Receive monthly Table of Contents alerts from The Bone & Joint Journal

Comprehensive article alerts can be set up and managed through your account settings

View my account settings

Volume 97-B, Issue 8 August 2015

Unmet need, or need to ration? Pages 1013 - 1014
Access Required
F. S. Haddad
View article
Download PDF

J. L. Hobby
View article
Download PDF

D. Phan S. S. Bederman R. Schwarzkopf
View article
Download PDF

The interaction between the lumbosacral spine and the pelvis is dynamically related to positional change, and may be complicated by co-existing pathology. This review summarises the current literature examining the effect of sagittal spinal deformity on pelvic and acetabular orientation during total hip arthroplasty (THA) and provides recommendations to aid in placement of the acetabular component for patients with co-existing spinal pathology or long spinal fusions. Pre-operatively, patients can be divided into four categories based on the flexibility and sagittal balance of the spine. Using this information as a guide, placement of the acetabular component can be optimal based on the type and significance of co-existing spinal deformity.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1017–23.

M. R. Whitehouse M. Endo S. Zachara T. O. Nielsen N. V. Greidanus B. A. Masri D. S. Garbuz C. P. Duncan
View article
Download PDF

Adverse reaction to wear and corrosion debris is a cause for concern in total hip arthroplasty (THA). Modular junctions are a potential source of such wear products and are associated with secondary pseudotumour formation.

We present a consecutive series of 17 patients treated at our unit for this complication following metal-on-highly cross-linked polyethylene (MoP) THA. We emphasise the risk of misdiagnosis as infection, and present the aggregate laboratory results and pathological findings in this series.

The clinical presentation was pain, swelling or instability. Solid, cystic and mixed soft-tissue lesions were noted on imaging and confirmed intra-operatively. Corrosion at the head–neck junction was noted in all cases. No bacteria were isolated on multiple pre- and intra-operative samples yet the mean erythrocyte sedimentation rate was 49 (9 to 100) and C-reactive protein 32 (0.6 to 106) and stromal polymorphonuclear cell counts were noted in nine cases.

Adverse soft–tissue reactions can occur in MoP THA owing to corrosion products released from the head–neck junction. The diagnosis should be carefully considered when investigating pain after THA. This may avoid the misdiagnosis of periprosthetic infection with an unidentified organism and mitigate the unnecessary management of these cases with complete single- or two-stage exchange.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1024–1030.

R. E. da Assunção T. C. B. Pollard A. Hrycaiczuk J. Curry S. Glyn-Jones A. Taylor
View article
Download PDF

Periprosthetic femoral fracture (PFF) is a potentially devastating complication after total hip arthroplasty, with historically high rates of complication and failure because of the technical challenges of surgery, as well as the prevalence of advanced age and comorbidity in the patients at risk.

This study describes the short-term outcome after revision arthroplasty using a modular, titanium, tapered, conical stem for PFF in a series of 38 fractures in 37 patients.

The mean age of the cohort was 77 years (47 to 96). A total of 27 patients had an American Society of Anesthesiologists grade of at least 3. At a mean follow-up of 35 months (4 to 66) the mean Oxford Hip Score (OHS) was 35 (15 to 48) and comorbidity was significantly associated with a poorer OHS. All fractures united and no stem needed to be revised. Three hips in three patients required further surgery for infection, recurrent PFF and recurrent dislocation and three other patients required closed manipulation for a single dislocation. One stem subsided more than 5 mm but then stabilised and required no further intervention.

In this series, a modular, tapered, conical stem provided a versatile reconstruction solution with a low rate of complications.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1031–7.

L. B. Solomon K. Costi D. Kosuge T. Cordier M. A. McGee D. W. Howie
View article
Download PDF

The outcome of 219 revision total hip arthroplasties (THAs) in 98 male and 121 female patients, using 137 long length and 82 standard length cemented collarless double-taper femoral stems in 211 patients, with a mean age of 72 years (30 to 90) and mean follow-up of six years (two to 18) have been described previously. We have extended the follow-up to a mean of 13 years (8 to 20) in this cohort of patients in which the pre-operative bone deficiency Paprosky grading was IIIA or worse in 79% and 73% of femurs with long and standard stems, respectively.

For the long stem revision group, survival to re-revision for aseptic loosening at 14 years was 97% (95% confidence interval (CI) 91 to 100) and in patients aged > 70 years, survival was 100%. Two patients (two revisions) were lost to follow-up and 86 patients with 88 revisions had died. Worst-case analysis for survival to re-revision for aseptic loosening at 14 years was 95% (95% CI 89 to 100) and 99% (95% CI 96 to 100) for patients aged > 70 years. One additional long stem was classified as loose radiographically but not revised.

For the standard stem revision group, survival to re-revision for aseptic loosening at 14 years was 91% (95% CI 83 to 99). No patients were lost to follow-up and 49 patients with 51 hips had died. No additional stems were classified as loose radiographically.

Femoral revision using a cemented collarless double-taper stem, particularly with a long length stem, and in patients aged > 70 years, continues to yield excellent results up to 20 years post-operatively, including in hips with considerable femoral metaphyseal bone loss.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1038–45.

M. P. Abdel M. B. Cross A. T. Yasen F. S. Haddad
View article
Download PDF

The aims of this study were to determine the functional impact and financial burden of isolated and recurrent dislocation after total hip arthroplasty (THA). Our secondary goal was to determine whether there was a difference between patients who were treated non-operatively and those who were treated operatively.

We retrospectively reviewed 71 patients who had suffered dislocation of a primary THA. Their mean age was 67 years (41 to 92) and the mean follow-up was 3.8 years (2.1 to 8.2).

Because patients with recurrent dislocation were three times more likely to undergo operative treatment (p < 0.0001), they ultimately had a significantly higher mean Harris Hip Score (HHS) (p = 0.0001), lower mean Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) scores (p = 0.001) and a higher mean SF-12 score (p < 0.0001) than patients with a single dislocation. Likewise, those who underwent operative treatment had a higher mean HHS (p < 0.0001), lower mean WOMAC score (p < 0.0001) and a higher mean SF-12 score (p < 0.0001) than those who were treated non-operatively.

Recurrent dislocation and operative treatment increased costs by 300% (£11 456; p < 0.0001) and 40% (£5217; p < 0.0001), respectively.

The operative treatment of recurrent dislocation results in significantly better function than non-operative management. Moreover, the increase in costs for operative treatment is modest compared with that of non-operative measures.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:1046–9.

M. Drexler M. Abolghasemian P. R. Kuzyk T. Dwyer Y. Kosashvili D. Backstein A. E. Gross O. Safir
View article
Download PDF

This study reports the clinical outcome of reconstruction of deficient abductor muscles following revision total hip arthroplasty (THA), using a fresh–frozen allograft of the extensor mechanism of the knee. A retrospective analysis was conducted of 11 consecutive patients with a severe limp because of abductor deficiency which was confirmed on MRI scans. The mean age of the patients (three men and eight women) was 66.7 years (52 to 84), with a mean follow-up of 33 months (24 to 41).

Following surgery, two patients had no limp, seven had a mild limp, and two had a persistent severe limp (p = 0.004). The mean power of the abductors improved on the Medical Research Council scale from 2.15 to 3.8 (p < 0.001). Pre-operatively, all patients required a stick or walking frame; post-operatively, four patients were able to walk without an aid. Overall, nine patients had severe or moderate pain pre-operatively; ten patients had no or mild pain post-operatively.

At final review, the Harris hip score was good in five patients, fair in two and poor in four.

We conclude that using an extensor mechanism allograft is relatively effective in the treatment of chronic abductor deficiency of the hip after THA when techniques such as local tissue transfer are not possible.

Longer-term follow-up is necessary before the technique can be broadly applied.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1050–5.

A. J. Kanawati R. S. Narulla P. Lorentzos G. Facchetti A. Smith F. Stewart
View article
Download PDF

The aim of this cadaver study was to identify the change in position of the sciatic nerve during arthroplasty using the posterior surgical approach to the hip. We investigated the position of the nerve during this procedure by dissecting 11 formalin-treated cadavers (22 hips: 12 male, ten female). The distance between the sciatic nerve and the femoral neck was measured before and after dislocation of the hip, and in positions used during the preparation of the femur. The nerve moves closer to the femoral neck when the hip is flexed to > 30° and internally rotated to 90° (90° IR). The mean distance between the nerve and femoral neck was 43.1 mm (standard deviation (sd) 8.7) with the hip at 0° of flexion and 90° IR; this significantly decreased to a mean of 36.1 mm (sd 9.5), 28.8 mm (sd 9.8) and 19.1 mm (sd 9.7) at 30°, 60° and 90° of hip flexion respectively (p < 0.001). In two hips the nerve was in contact with the femoral neck when the hip was flexed to 90°.

This study demonstrates that the sciatic nerve becomes closer to the operative field during hip arthroplasty using the posterior approach with progressive flexion of the hip.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1056–62.

H. Pilge B. M. Holzapfel H. Rechl P. M. Prodinger R. Lampe U. Saur R. Eisenhart-Rothe H. Gollwitzer
View article
Download PDF

The aim of this study was to analyse the gait pattern, muscle force and functional outcome of patients who had undergone replacement of the proximal tibia for tumour and alloplastic reconstruction of the extensor mechanism using the patellar-loop technique.

Between February 1998 and December 2009, we carried out wide local excision of a primary sarcoma of the proximal tibia, proximal tibial replacement and reconstruction of the extensor mechanism using the patellar-loop technique in 18 patients. Of these, nine were available for evaluation after a mean of 11.6 years (0.5 to 21.6). The strength of the knee extensors was measured using an Isobex machine and gait analysis was undertaken in our gait assessment laboratory. Functional outcome was assessed using the American Knee Society (AKS) and Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) scores.

The gait pattern of the patients differed in ground contact time, flexion heel strike, maximal flexion loading response and total sagittal plane excursion. The mean maximum active flexion was 91° (30° to 110°). The overall mean extensor lag was 1° (0° to 5°). The mean extensor muscle strength was 25.8% (8.3% to 90.3%) of that in the non-operated leg (p < 0.001). The mean functional scores were 68.7% (43.4% to 83.3%) (MSTS) and 71.1 (30 to 90) (AKS functional score).

In summary, the results show that reconstruction of the extensor mechanism using this technique gives good biomechanical and functional results. The patients’ gait pattern is close to normal, except for a somewhat stiff knee gait pattern. The strength of the extensor mechanism is reduced, but sufficient for walking.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1063–9.

M. T. Murphy R. Vardi S. F. Journeaux S. L. Whitehouse
View article
Download PDF

If patients could recall their physical status before total hip (THA) or knee arthroplasty (TKA) accurately it could have valuable applications both clinically and for research. This study evaluated the accuracy of a patient’s recollection one year after either THA or TKA using the Oxford hip or knee scores (OHS and OKS). In total, 113 patients (59 THA, 54 TKA) who had completed the appropriate score pre-operatively were asked to complete the score again at a mean of 12.4 months (standard deviation (sd) 0.8) after surgery, recalling their pre-operative state.

While there were no significant differences between the actual and recalled pre-operative scores (OHS mean difference 0.8, sd 6.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.82 to 2.42, p = 0.329; OKS mean difference -0.11, sd 7.34, 95% CI -2.11 to 1.89, p = 0.912), absolute differences were relatively large (OHS, 5.24; OKS, 5.41), correlation was weak (OHS r = 0.7, OKS r = 0.61) and agreement between actual and recalled responses for individual questions was poor in half of the OHS and two thirds of the OKS.

A patient’s recollection of pre-operative pain and function is inaccurate one year after THA or TKA.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1070–5.

A. Patel G. Pavlou R. E. Mújica-Mota A. D. Toms
View article
Download PDF

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) are recognised and proven interventions for patients with advanced arthritis. Studies to date have demonstrated a steady increase in the requirement for primary and revision procedures. Projected estimates made for the United States show that by 2030 the demand for primary TKA will grow by 673% and for revision TKA by 601% from the level in 2005. For THA the projected estimates are 174% and 137% for primary and revision surgery, respectively. The purpose of this study was to see if those predictions were similar for England and Wales using data from the National Joint Registry and the Office of National Statistics.

Analysis of data for England and Wales suggest that by 2030, the volume of primary and revision TKAs will have increased by 117% and 332%, respectively between 2012 and 2030. The data for the United States translates to a 306% cumulative rate of increase between 2012 and 2030 for revision surgery, which is similar to our predictions for England and Wales.

The predictions from the United States for primary TKA were similar to our upper limit projections. For THA, we predicted an increase of 134% and 31% for primary and revision hip surgery, respectively.

Our model has limitations, however, it highlights the economic burden of arthroplasty in the future in England and Wales as a real and unaddressed problem. This will have significant implications for the provision of health care and the management of orthopaedic services in the future.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1076–1081.

S. Tubeuf G. Yu J. Achten N. R Parsons A. Rangan S. E. Lamb M. L. Costa
View article
Download PDF

We present an economic evaluation using data from the Distal Radius Acute Fracture Fixation Trial (DRAFFT) to compare the relative cost effectiveness of percutaneous Kirschner wire (K-wire) fixation and volar locking-plate fixation for patients with dorsally-displaced fractures of the distal radius.

The cost effectiveness analysis (cost per quality-adjusted life year; QALY) was derived from a multi-centre, two-arm, parallel group, assessor-blind, randomised controlled trial which took place in 18 trauma centres in the United Kingdom. Data from 460 patients were available for analysis, which includes both a National Health Service cost perspective including costs of surgery, implants and healthcare resource use over a 12-month period after surgery, and a societal perspective, which includes the cost of time off work and the need for additional private care.

There was only a small difference in QALYs gained for patients treated with locking-plate fixation over those treated with K-wires. At a mean additional cost of £714 (95% confidence interval 588 to 865) per patient, locking-plate fixation presented an incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £89 322 per QALY within the first 12 months of treatment. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken to assess the ICER of locking-plate fixation compared with K-wires. These were greater than £30 000.

Compared with locking-plate fixation, K-wire fixation is a ‘cost saving’ intervention, with similar health benefits.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1082–9.

A. Urita T. Funakoshi N. Suenaga N. Oizumi N. Iwasaki
View article
Download PDF

This pilot study reports the clinical outcomes of a combination of partial subscapularis tendon transfer and small-head hemiarthroplasty in patients with rotatator cuff arthropathy. A total of 30 patients (30 shoulders; eight men and 22 women) with a mean age of 74 years (55 to 84) were assessed at a mean follow-up of 31 months (24 to 60). The inclusion criteria were painful cuff tear arthropathy with normal deltoid function and a non-degenerative subscapularis muscle and tendon and a preserved teres minor.

Outcome was assessed using the University of California Los Angeles score, the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, and the Oxford Shoulder Score. Radiographic measurements included the centre of rotation distance and the length of the deltoid.

All clinical scores were significantly improved post-operatively. The active flexion and external rotation improved significantly at the most recent follow-up (p < 0.035). Although the mean centre of rotation distance changed significantly (p < 0.001), the mean length of the deltoid did not change significantly from the pre-operative value (p = 0.29). The change in the length of the deltoid with < 100° flexion was significantly less than that with > 100° (p < 0.001).

Progressive erosion of the glenoid was seen in four patients. No patient required revision or further surgery.

A combination of partial subscapularis tendon transfer and small-head hemiarthroplasty effectively restored function and relieved pain in patients with rotator cuff arthropathy.

Cite this article: 2015;97-B:1090–5.

N. Oizumi N. Suenaga C. Yoshioka S. Yamane
View article
Download PDF

To prevent insufficiency of the triceps after total elbow arthroplasty, we have, since 2008, used a triceps-sparing ulnar approach. This study evaluates the clinical results and post-operative alignment of the prosthesis using this approach.

We reviewed 25 elbows in 23 patients. There were five men and 18 women with a mean age of 69 years (54 to 83). There were 18 elbows with rheumatoid arthritis, six with a fracture or pseudoarthrosis and one elbow with osteoarthritis.

Post-operative complications included one intra-operative fracture, one elbow with heterotopic ossification, one transient ulnar nerve palsy, and one elbow with skin necrosis, but no elbow was affected by insufficiency of the triceps.

Patients were followed for a mean of 42 months (24 to 77). The mean post-operative Japanese Orthopaedic Association Elbow Score was 90.8 (51 to 100) and the mean Mayo Elbow Performance score 93.8 (65 to 100). The mean post-operative flexion/extension of the elbow was 135°/-8°. The Manual Muscle Testing score of the triceps was 5 in 23 elbows and 2 in two elbows (one patient). The mean alignment of the implants examined by 3D-CT was 2.8° pronation (standard deviation (sd) 5.5), 0.3° valgus (sd 2.7), and 0.7° extension (sd 3.2) for the humeral component, and 9.3° pronation (sd 9.7), 0.3° valgus (sd 4.0), and 8.6° extension (sd 3.1) for the ulnar component. There was no radiolucent line or loosening of the implants on the final radiographs.

The triceps-sparing ulnar approach allows satisfactory alignment of the implants, is effective in preventing post-operative triceps insufficiency, and gives satisfactory short-term results.

Cite this article: 2015;97-B:1096–1101.

J. Oren L. H. Hutzler T. Hunter T. Errico J. Zuckerman J. Bosco
View article
Download PDF

The demand for spinal surgery and its costs have both risen over the past decade. In 2008 the aggregate hospital bill for surgical care of all spinal procedures was reported to be $33.9 billion. One key driver of rising costs is spinal implants. In 2011 our institution implemented a cost containment programme for spinal implants which was designed to reduce the prices of individual spinal implants and to reduce the inter-surgeon variation in implant costs. Between February 2012 and January 2013, our spinal surgeons performed 1493 spinal procedures using implants from eight different vendors. By applying market analysis and implant cost data from the previous year, we established references prices for each individual type of spinal implant, regardless of vendor, who were required to meet these unit prices. We found that despite the complexity of spinal surgery and the initial reluctance of vendors to reduce prices, significant savings were made to the medical centre.

Cite this article: 2015; 97-B:1102–5.

M. Kherad D. Mellström B. E. Rosengren R. Hasserius J-Å. Nilsson I. Redlund-Johnell C. Ohlsson M. Lorentzon M. K. Karlsson
View article
Download PDF

We sought to determine whether specific characteristics of vertebral fractures in elderly men are associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis.

Mister osteoporosis Sweden is a population based cohort study involving 3014 men aged 69 to 81 years. Of these, 1427 had readable lateral radiographs of the thoracic and lumbar spine. Total body (TB) BMD (g/cm²) and total right hip (TH) BMD were measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. The proportion of men with osteoporosis was calculated from TH BMD. There were 215 men (15.1%) with a vertebral fracture. Those with a fracture had lower TB BMD than those without (p < 0.001). Among men with a fracture, TB BMD was lower in those with more than three fractures (p = 0.02), those with biconcave fractures (p = 0.02) and those with vertebral body compression of > 42% (worst quartile) (p = 0.03). The mean odds ratio (OR) for having osteoporosis when having any type of vertebral fracture was 6.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.9 to 9.5) compared with those without a fracture. A combination of more than three fractures and compression in the worst quartile had a mean OR of 114.2 (95% CI 6.7 to 1938.3) of having osteoporosis compared with those without a fracture.

We recommend BMD studies to be undertaken in these subcohorts of elderly men with a vertebral fracture.

Cite this article: 2015;97-B:1106–10.

C. K. Chiu M. K. Kwan C. Y. W. Chan C. Schaefer N. Hansen-Algenstaedt
View article
Download PDF

We undertook a retrospective study investigating the accuracy and safety of percutaneous pedicle screws placed under fluoroscopic guidance in the lumbosacral junction and lumbar spine. The CT scans of patients were chosen from two centres: European patients from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, and Asian patients from the University of Malaya, Malaysia. Screw perforations were classified into grades 0, 1, 2 and 3. A total of 880 percutaneous pedicle screws from 203 patients were analysed: 614 screws from 144 European patients and 266 screws from 59 Asian patients. The mean age of the patients was 58.8 years (16 to 91) and there were 103 men and 100 women. The total rate of perforation was 9.9% (87 screws) with 7.4% grade 1, 2.0% grade 2 and 0.5% grade 3 perforations. The rate of perforation in Europeans was 10.4% and in Asians was 8.6%, with no significant difference between the two (p = 0.42). The rate of perforation was the highest in S1 (19.4%) followed by L5 (14.9%). The accuracy and safety of percutaneous pedicle screw placement are comparable to those cited in the literature for the open method of pedicle screw placement. Greater caution must be taken during the insertion of L5 and S1 percutaneous pedicle screws owing to their more angulated pedicles, the anatomical variations in their vertebral bodies and the morphology of the spinal canal at this location.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:1111–17.

Access Required
R. M. Kwasnicki S. Hettiaratchy J. Okogbaa B. Lo G-Z. Yang A. Darzi
View article
Download PDF

In this study we quantified and characterised the return of functional mobility following open tibial fracture using the Hamlyn Mobility Score. A total of 20 patients who had undergone reconstruction following this fracture were reviewed at three-month intervals for one year. An ear-worn movement sensor was used to assess their mobility and gait. The Hamlyn Mobility Score and its constituent kinematic features were calculated longitudinally, allowing analysis of mobility during recovery and between patients with varying grades of fracture. The mean score improved throughout the study period. Patients with more severe fractures recovered at a slower rate; those with a grade I Gustilo-Anderson fracture completing most of their recovery within three months, those with a grade II fracture within six months and those with a grade III fracture within nine months.

Analysis of gait showed that the quality of walking continued to improve up to 12 months post-operatively, whereas the capacity to walk, as measured by the six-minute walking test, plateaued after six months.

Late complications occurred in two patients, in whom the trajectory of recovery deviated by > 0.5 standard deviations below that of the remaining patients. This is the first objective, longitudinal assessment of functional recovery in patients with an open tibial fracture, providing some clarification of the differences in prognosis and recovery associated with different grades of fracture.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:1118–25.

S. Nortunen T. Flinkkilä I. Lantto T. Kortekangas J. Niinimäki P. Ohtonen H. Pakarinen
View article
Download PDF

We prospectively assessed the diagnostic accuracy of the gravity stress test and clinical findings to evaluate the stability of the ankle mortise in patients with supination–external rotation-type fractures of the lateral malleolus without widening of the medial clear space. The cohort included 79 patients with a mean age of 44 years (16 to 82). Two surgeons assessed medial tenderness, swelling and ecchymosis and performed the external rotation (ER) stress test (a reference standard). A diagnostic radiographer performed the gravity stress test.

For the gravity stress test, the positive likelihood ratio (LR) was 5.80 with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 2.75 to 12.27, and the negative LR was 0.15 (95% CI 0.07 to 0.35), suggesting a moderate change from the pre-test probability. Medial tenderness, both alone and in combination with swelling and/or ecchymosis, indicated a small change (positive LR, 2.74 to 3.25; negative LR, 0.38 to 0.47), whereas swelling and ecchymosis indicated only minimal changes (positive LR, 1.41 to 1.65; negative LR, 0.38 to 0.47).

In conclusion, when gravity stress test results are in agreement with clinical findings, the result is likely to predict stability of the ankle mortise with an accuracy equivalent to ER stress test results. When clinical examination suggests a medial-side injury, however, the gravity stress test may give a false negative result.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:1126–31.

Access Required
S. A. Aitken P. J. Jenkins L. Rymaszewski
View article
Download PDF

The best method of managing a fracture of the distal humerus in a frail low-demand patient with osteoporotic bone remains controversial. Total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) has been recommended for patients in whom open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is not possible. Conservative methods of treatment, including the ‘bag of bones’ technique (acceptance of displacement of the bony fragments and early mobilisation), are now rarely considered as they are believed to give a poor functional result.

We reviewed 40 elderly and low-demand patients (aged 50 to 93 years, 72% women) with a fracture of the distal humerus who had been treated conservatively at our hospital between March 2008 and December 2013, and assessed their short- and medium-term functional outcome.

In the short-term, the mean Broberg and Morrey score improved from 42 points (poor; 23 to 80) at six weeks after injury to 67 points (fair; 40 to 88) by three months.

In the medium-term, surviving patients (n = 20) had a mean Oxford elbow score of 30 points (7 to 48) at four years and a mean Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score of 38 points (0 to 75): 95% reported a functional range of elbow flexion. The cumulative rate of fracture union at one year was 53%. The mortality at five years approached 40%.

Conservative management of a fracture of the distal humerus in a low-demand patient only gives a modest functional result, but avoids the substantial surgical risks associated with primary ORIF or TEA.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1132–8.

J. R. B. Hutt A. Ortega-Briones J. S. Daurka M. D. Bircher M. S. Rickman
View article
Download PDF

The most widely used classification system for acetabular fractures was developed by Judet, Judet and Letournel over 50 years ago primarily to aid surgical planning. As population demographics and injury mechanisms have altered over time, the fracture patterns also appear to be changing. We conducted a retrospective review of the imaging of 100 patients with a mean age of 54.9 years (19 to 94) and a male to female ratio of 69:31 seen between 2010 and 2013 with acetabular fractures in order to determine whether the current spectrum of injury patterns can be reliably classified using the original system.

Three consultant pelvic and acetabular surgeons and one senior fellow analysed anonymous imaging. Inter-observer agreement for the classification of fractures that fitted into defined categories was substantial, (κ = 0.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51 to 0.76) with improvement to near perfect on inclusion of CT imaging (κ = 0.80, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.91). However, a high proportion of injuries (46%) were felt to be unclassifiable by more than one surgeon; there was moderate agreement on which these were (κ = 0.42 95% CI 0.31 to 0.54).

Further review of the unclassifiable fractures in this cohort of 100 patients showed that they tended to occur in an older population (mean age 59.1 years; 22 to 94 vs 47.2 years; 19 to 94; p = 0.003) and within this group, there was a recurring pattern of anterior column and quadrilateral plate involvement, with or without an incomplete posterior element injury.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1139–43.

Access Required
T. Waki S. Y. Lee T. Niikura T. Iwakura Y. Dogaki E. Okumachi R. Kuroda M. Kurosaka
View article
Download PDF

MicroRNAs (miRNAs ) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. We hypothesised that the functions of certain miRNAs and changes to their patterns of expression may be crucial in the pathogenesis of nonunion. Healing fractures and atrophic nonunions produced by periosteal cauterisation were created in the femora of 94 rats, with 1:1 group allocation. At post-fracture days three, seven, ten, 14, 21 and 28, miRNAs were extracted from the newly generated tissue at the fracture site. Microarray and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses of day 14 samples revealed that five miRNAs, miR-31a-3p, miR-31a-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-146b-5p and miR-223-3p, were highly upregulated in nonunion. Real-time PCR analysis further revealed that, in nonunion, the expression levels of all five of these miRNAs peaked on day 14 and declined thereafter.

Our results suggest that miR-31a-3p, miR-31a-5p, miR-146a-5p, miR-146b-5p and miR-223-3p may play an important role in the development of nonunion. These findings add to the understanding of the molecular mechanism for nonunion formation and may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for its treatment.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:1144–51.

Access Required
S. Gupta D. Cafferky F. Cowie P. Riches A. Mahendra
View article
Download PDF

Extracorporeal irradiation of an excised tumour-bearing segment of bone followed by its re-implantation is a technique used in bone sarcoma surgery for limb salvage when the bone is of reasonable quality. There is no agreement among previous studies about the dose of irradiation to be given: up to 300 Gy have been used.

We investigated the influence of extracorporeal irradiation on the elastic and viscoelastic properties of bone. Bone was harvested from mature cattle and subdivided into 13 groups: 12 were exposed to increasing levels of irradiation: one was not and was used as a control. The specimens, once irradiated, underwent mechanical testing in saline at 37°C.

The mechanical properties of each group, including Young’s modulus, storage modulus and loss modulus, were determined experimentally and compared with the control group.

There were insignificant changes in all of these mechanical properties with an increasing level of irradiation.

We conclude that the overall mechanical effect of high levels of extracorporeal irradiation (300 Gy) on bone is negligible. Consequently the dose can be maximised to reduce the risk of local tumour recurrence.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1152–6.