JAAOS

JAAOS, Volume 27, No. 14


Thromboelastography for the Orthopaedic Surgeon

Evaluation of coagulation is vital in the care of the orthopaedic patients, particularly in the subspecialties of trauma, spine, arthroplasty, and revision surgery resulting from blood loss and coagulopathies. Although conventional tests (prothrombin time/international normalized ratio, activated partial thromboplastin time, platelet count, and fibrinogen) are most commonly used, others like thromboelastography (TEG) are also available to the orthopaedic surgeons. TEG is a blood test developed in the 1950s, which provides a snapshot of a patient's coagulation profile by evaluating clot formation and lysis. Recently, TEG has been used to assess traumatic coagulopathy. The coagulation parameters measured by the TEG are reaction time (R-time), time to reach a certain clot strength (K-value), speed of fibrin build up (α-angle), maximum clot amplitude, and percentage decrease of clot in 30 minutes (LY30). Using these values, traumatologists have developed a better, faster, and more accurate overview of a patient's resuscitation and more successfully direct blood product use. However, many orthopaedic surgeons—despite performing surgical procedures that risk notable blood loss and postoperative clotting complications—are unaware of the existence of the TEG blood test and the critical information it provides. Increasing awareness of the TEG among orthopaedic surgeons could have a notable effect on numerous aspects of musculoskeletal care.

      • Subspecialty:
      • General Orthopaedics

    The Relationship Between Low-Grade Infection and Degenerative Disk Disease: A Review of Basic Science and Clinical Data

    Low back pain resulting from intervertebral disk degeneration is a cause of substantial disability and productivity loss. Over the past few years, growing evidence exists which suggests that low-grade bacterial infection, particularly infection with Cutibacterium acnes, may be associated with degenerative disk disease in the lumbar spine. Positive cultures are obtained in approximately 30% of intervertebral disk specimens removed at the time of surgery. In addition, one randomized trial has shown that antibiotic therapy for low back pain in patients with disk degeneration can slow the progression of degeneration and improve pain and disability levels. Although these results are encouraging, the link between infection and disk degeneration remains controversial. Investigators have attempted to address the limitations of clinical research by using translational methods and animal models. These methods have shown that seeding of the disk with bacteria can lead to increased local inflammation and an in vivo phenotype that is similar to human disk degeneration. This review seeks to provide an overview of the clinical, translational, and animal model data linking infection to disk degeneration. We review mechanisms for disk degeneration in the setting of infection and explore areas for future investigation.

        • Subspecialty:
        • Spine

      Cutibacterium acnes in Spine Pathology: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management

      Cutibacterium acnes, long thought to be skin flora of pathological insignificance, has seen a surge in interest for its role in spine pathology. C acnes has been identified as a pathogen in native spine infection and osteomyelitis, which has implications in the management compared with more commonly recognized pathogens. In addition, It has also been recognized as a pathogen in postoperative and implant-associated infections. Some evidence exists pointing to C acnes as an unrecognized source of otherwise aseptic pseudarthrosis. Recently, it is hypothesized that low virulent organisms, in particular C acnes, may play a role in degenerative disk disease and the development of Modic end plate changes found in MRI. To this end, controversial implications exist in terms of the use of antibiotics to treat certain patients in the setting of degenerative disk disease. C acnes continues to remain an expanding area of interest in spine pathology, with important implications for the treating spine surgeon.

      STATUSONLINE-ONLYCMECME

          • Subspecialty:
          • Spine

        Upper Extremity Immobilization and Driving: Limitations and Liability

        Orthopaedic injuries of the upper extremity remain common, often requiring prolonged immobilization after surgical or nonsurgical management. Upper extremity immobilization often has a profound effect on a patient's daily life, including one's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Current literature on the safety of driving while immobilized is varied, although above-elbow immobilization of the upper extremity is generally thought to present a particular hazard to safe driving. Unfortunately, as common as this situation is, currently little to no guidance exists for patients, physicians, or lawmakers with regard to deciding whether a patient is safe to return to driving with upper extremity immobilization. Similar discord exists with the issue of patient and physician liability in such cases. In this review, we seek to present both historical precedent and a contemporary update of this complex, though a frequently encountered situation.

        STATUSONLINE-ONLY

            • Subspecialty:
            • General Orthopaedics

          Deltoid Ligament Rupture in Ankle Fracture: Diagnosis and Management

          The last stage of a supination-external rotation ankle fracture involves either transverse fracture of the medial malleolus or rupture of the deltoid ligament. When the deltoid ligament ruptures, a “bimalleolar equivalent” ankle fracture occurs, and the surgeon is presented with several diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. In the native ankle, the deltoid ligament provides restraint to eversion and external rotation of the talus on the tibia. In bimalleolar equivalent ankle fractures, there is often gross medial instability even after fibular reduction. Retraction of the deltoid with subsequent healing in a nonanatomic position theoretically may cause instability, persistent medial gutter pain, and loss of function with risk of early arthritis. In mild cases, deltoid injury may not be obvious, and potential diagnostic techniques include preoperative and intraoperative stress radiography, MRI, and ultrasonography. The most common injury pattern is avulsion from the medial malleolus, and most current repair techniques involve direct repair of the capsular and deltoid injuries involving suture anchors in the medial malleolus and imbrication of the superficial and deep deltoid fibers. To date, there is limited evidence of superior clinical outcomes with the addition of deltoid repair compared with open reduction and internal fixation of the fibula alone.

          STATUSONLINE-ONLY

              • Subspecialty:
              • Trauma

              • Foot and Ankle

            The Perception of Pregnancy and Parenthood Among Female Orthopaedic Surgery Residents

            Introduction: Orthopaedic surgery has the lowest percentage of female residents of all surgical specialties. Female medical students may believe that the demands of the specialty, both during training and in clinical practice, may be less conducive to becoming a parent. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of and experiences with pregnancy and parenthood among female orthopaedic surgery trainees.

                • Subspecialty:
                • General Orthopaedics

              Economic and Outcomes Analysis of Recalcitrant Cervical Radiculopathy: Is Nonsurgical Management or Surgery More Cost-Effective?

              Introduction: This study directly compares the economical and clinical effectiveness of the use of cervical epidural injections and continued physical therapy versus surgical management in cases of cervical radiculopathy that have failed 6 weeks of conservative management.

                  • Subspecialty:
                  • Spine

                Course of the Femoral Artery in the Mid- and Distal Thigh and Implications for Medial Approaches to the Distal Femur: A CT Angiography Study

                Introduction: Unfamiliarity with the location of the femoral artery in the medial thigh has tempered surgeons' enthusiasm for medial approaches to the distal femur. The purpose of this study was to define the relationship of the femoral artery to the mid- and distal femur to assist in safely approaching the femur for fracture care.

                    • Subspecialty:
                    • General Orthopaedics

                  Who Cares for Total Hip Arthroplasty Complications? Rates of Readmission to a Hospital Different From the Location of the Index Procedure

                  Introduction: While the number of total hip arthroplasties (THAs) performed increases, so is the number of postoperative readmissions, resulting in costly episodes of care that may disproportionately affect certain hospitals. This study examines the rates of readmission of patients to the same hospital at which they underwent index THA, compared with readmission to a different hospital.

                      • Subspecialty:
                      • Adult Reconstruction

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