Bone and Joint Institute


Orthopaedic surgeons’ opinions surrounding the management of proximal humerus fractures: an international survey

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International Orthopaedics





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© 2017, SICOT aisbl. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey surgeons’ preferences surrounding the management and evaluation of proximal humerus fractures internationally. Methods: A questionnaire was developed using previous literature and input from practicing orthopaedic surgeon opinion leaders. Between November 13, 2014 and December 31, 2014, the questionnaire was posted on the membership section of three major orthopaedic and shoulder surgery association websites. Survey responses were anonymous. Results: The survey was completed by 134 unique practicing orthopaedic surgeons. The majority of respondents (72%) practiced in North America while 28% practiced internationally. For displaced two-part fractures, a preference for open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) with locking plates was identified (75%). No consensus was reached for preferred treatment of three- and four- part fractures: 37% chose ORIF with locking plates, 26% chose hemi-arthroplasty (HA), and 29% chose reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA). Preferred treatment types for three- and four-part fractures were marginally significantly different depending on place of practice (North America vs. international, p = 0.058). A significantly larger proportion of surgeons who had completed an upper extremity fellowship (35%) chose RSA for the treatment of three and four-part fractures, compared to those who had not (9%, p = 0.002). No consensus was observed regarding what outcome measure is best to assess function following proximal humerus fractures. Conclusions: The management of more complex, displaced proximal humerus fractures remains controversial. Additionally, there are conflicting opinions on what outcome measure is best to assess function following the treatment of proximal humerus fractures.

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