JAAOS, Volume 23, No. 8

Clinical Differentiation of Upper Extremity Pain Etiologies

Upper extremity pain can result from many overlapping etiologies. These can be categorized into anatomic regions and specific organ systems. Anatomically, pain etiologies are classified into four major groups: neurologic, musculoskeletal, vascular, and other (eg, tumor, infection). Knowledge of the characteristic clinical presentation and physical examination findings of each group can help distinguish the source of the patient"s complaints quickly so that an accurate clinical diagnosis can facilitate appropriate diagnostic measures and treatment. A focus on the neurologic causes of upper extremity pain (ie, cervical spine pathology, peripheral nerve compression, neuropathy) and musculoskeletal causes of shoulder and elbow pain (eg, adhesive capsulitis, calcific tendinitis, biceps tendinitis, synovitis) and the distinguishing characteristics (eg, periscapular pain, two-point discrimination, signal intensity on T2-weighted MRI) helps determine the appropriate diagnosis.

      • Subspecialty:
      • Shoulder and Elbow

      • Spine

    Considerations in the Radiologic Evaluation of the Pregnant Orthopaedic Patient

    Radiographic imaging of the pregnant patient represents a diagnostic and management dilemma for the orthopaedic surgeon. Imaging is often necessary in the setting of trauma; however, in utero radiation exposure can result in deleterious developmental effects in the embryo and fetus. The likelihood of a negative effect is proportional to the radiation dose and the gestational age of the embryo or fetus at the time of exposure. Ionizing radiation doses >100 mGy in the first trimester of pregnancy may lead to spontaneous abortion, malformation, and mental retardation. Whereas plain radiographs of the extremities and cervical spine expose the fetus to minimal doses of radiation of <10 mGy, other commonly performed orthopaedic diagnostic studies, such as CT of the pelvis, emit significantly higher exposure doses of approximately 35 mGy. Non-emitting modalities, such as ultrasonography and MRI, are alternatives for evaluation in the clinical setting.

        • Subspecialty:
        • General Orthopaedics

      Extremity War Injuries IX: Reducing Disability Within the Military

      Extremity War Injury Symposium IX focused on reducing disability within the military, centering on cartilage defects, amputations, and spinal cord injury. Many areas of upper and lower extremity trauma and disability were discussed, including segmental nerve injuries, upper extremity allotransplantation, and the importance of patient-reported functional outcomes compared with the traditionally reported measures. Strategic planning addressed progression toward clinical solutions by setting clear objectives and goals and outlining pathways to address the "translation gap" that often prevents bridging of basic science to clinical application.

          Pediatric Posterior Sternoclavicular Joint Injuries

          Posterior sternoclavicular joint injuries are increasingly diagnosed in children and young adults. Most of these injuries are the result of indirect mechanisms, typically lateral compression, with a posterior-to-anterior force applied to the shoulder during sports. Less frequently, these injuries are caused by direct impact on the medial clavicle, which can occur in rollover motor vehicle accidents, or may represent atraumatic instability. In patients younger than 25 years, physeal separation is more common than true dislocation. Theoretically, these patients have increased remodeling potential. Reduction is recommended to prevent and/or manage the compression of mediastinal structures, which can lead to life-threatening injury. Open surgical stabilization is the preferred treatment for acute and chronic retrosternal injuries. A thoracic or trauma surgeon should be available during stabilization in the rare event of potentially life-threatening hemorrhage after reduction. Outcomes have been largely successful, with pain-free, unrestricted range of motion and return to activity.

              • Subspecialty:
              • Pediatric Orthopaedics

            Principles of Antibiotic Prophylaxis in Total Joint Arthroplasty: Current Concepts

            Infection is a rare, serious complication following total joint arthroplasty and constitutes a considerable emotional and financial burden for patients, surgeons, and healthcare systems. Prevention of surgical site and periprosthetic joint infections is crucial. This requires knowledge of the microorganisms that commonly cause these infections, including Staphylococcus species. Selection of the appropriate antibiotic regimen to treat infection remains controversial, but cefazolin and cefuroxime are the most commonly recommended antibiotics for prophylaxis. Appropriate timing of administration before surgery, with redosing performed as needed, can help to ensure optimal antibiotic concentration during surgery. Given the increasing evidence that S aureus colonization is a risk factor for periprosthetic joint infection, an exploration of the potential benefits of preoperative S aureus carrier screening and decolonization protocols is warranted. The use of antibiotic-loaded bone cement in primary total joint arthroplasty and antibiotic powder at wound closure are other controversial topics that require additional research.

                Psychological Aspects of Recovery Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

                Recovery following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is an arduous process that requires a significant mental and physical commitment to rehabilitation. Orthopaedic research in recent years has focused on optimizing anterior cruciate ligament surgical techniques; however, despite stable anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, many athletes still never achieve their preinjury ability or even return to sport. Psychological factors associated with patient perceptions and functional outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction are important to acknowledge and understand. Issues related to emotional disturbance, motivation, self-esteem, locus of control, and self-efficacy can have profound effects on patients" compliance, athletic identity, and readiness to return to sport. The psychological aspects of recovery play a critical role in functional outcomes, and a better understanding of these concepts is essential to optimize the treatment of patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, particularly those who plan to return to sport. Identifying at-risk patients, encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, and providing early referral to a sports psychologist may improve patient outcomes and increase return-to-play rates among athletes.

                    • Subspecialty:
                    • Sports Medicine

                  Ray Resections of the Fingers: Indications, Techniques, and Outcomes

                  Ray resection, which was pioneered by Bunnell in the 1920s, was initially performed as a salvage procedure for dysfunction of the proximal interphalangeal joint. Successful ray resection with or without an adjacent ray transfer can be useful for treating vascular insufficiency, tumors, infection, trauma, recurrent Dupuytren contracture, and congenital abnormalities of the hand. Indications, techniques, and outcomes vary based on the digit and the number of digits resected. Compared with amputation at the proximal phalangeal level, a single ray resection has better cosmesis and similar function, resulting in improved patient satisfaction. However, a 15% to 30% loss in grip and pinch strength has been reported. Today, ray resection results in good cosmetic and functional outcomes when preservation of a functional digit is unattainable or when the presence of an abnormal, unreconstructable digit interferes with the overall hand function.

                      • Subspecialty:
                      • Hand and Wrist

                    Technical Considerations in the Treatment of Syndesmotic Injuries Associated With Ankle Fractures

                    Malleolar ankle fractures associated with syndesmotic injuries are common. Diagnosis of the syndesmotic injury can be difficult and often requires intraoperative fluoroscopic stress testing. Accurate reduction and stable fixation of the syndesmosis are critical to maximize patient outcomes. Recent literature has demonstrated that the unstable syndesmosis is particularly prone to iatrogenic malreduction. Multiple types of malreduction can occur, including translational, rotational, and overcompression. Knowledge of the technical details regarding intraoperative reduction methods and reduction assessment can minimize the risk of syndesmotic malreduction and improve patient outcomes.

                        • Subspecialty:
                        • Trauma

                      The Basics of the Sunshine Act: How It Pertains to the Practicing Orthopaedic Surgeon

                      The Physician Payments Sunshine Act is a disclosure law requiring all drug, medical device, and biologics companies to report transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. It was passed into law in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The first set of data was released via an online public database on September 30, 2014, with subsequent annual reports to come. Three categories of payments are recorded: general payments, ownership interests, and research payments. With few exceptions, any transfer of value greater than $10 is reported. The first dataset of 4.4 million payments totaling more than $3.5 billion was released amidst controversy and technical problems. Identified data constituted $1.3 billion in transfer payments; de-identified data constituted $2.2 billion in payments. Data regarding an additional $1.1 billion in payments were not published, in part because of unresolved disputes. The largest amount of funding went to research payments. The highest proportion of general payments went to licensing and royalty payments. Orthopaedic surgeons comprised 3.5% of the physicians represented, and they were responsible for more than 20% of total payments. The full impact of the Sunshine Act will not be clear until several years after its implementation.

                          • Subspecialty:
                          • General Orthopaedics