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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018 Mar;27(3):470-477. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2017.09.033.

Difficulty in decision making in the treatment of displaced proximal humerus fractures: the effect of uncertainty on surgical outcomes.

Author information

1
Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Service, Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, FL, USA.
2
Clinical Research Department, Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education, Tampa, FL, USA.
3
Clinical Research Department, Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education, Tampa, FL, USA; Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.
4
Premier Care Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.
5
Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Service, Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, FL, USA. Electronic address: mfrankle@floridaortho.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Decision making in the management of proximal humerus fractures can be difficult in situations in which the surgeon is uncertain of the ideal treatment.

METHODS:

Two shoulder surgeons operatively treated 476 proximal humerus fractures from 1998-2014 with open reduction-internal fixation (ORIF), hemiarthroplasty, or reverse shoulder arthroplasty. Operative treatment was stratified by year to determine the evolution of technological influences on treatment over time. To evaluate the effect of uncertainty, 274 clinical vignettes were created for all patients with 1 year of follow-up or more and reviewed by 3 fellowship-trained shoulder surgeons to determine the type of treatment for each case. To evaluate the effect of certainty, range of motion for each patient with unanimous agreement on treatment was analyzed.

RESULTS:

ORIF treatment increased from 40% to 62% after release of the proximal humerus locking plate. Introduction of the fracture stem in 2011 increased reverse shoulder arthroplasty for fractures from 8.8% to 44.3%. Unanimous agreement on either operative or nonoperative treatment occurred 70.5% of the time. Only 63.5% of patients received the actual treatment selected (P = .001). Patients for whom unanimous agreement matched actual treatment in the ORIF treatment group showed improvement of forward elevation (144° vs 123°, P = .005) and abduction (129° vs 103°, P = .002).

CONCLUSION:

Successful management of displaced proximal humerus fractures requires both technical and decision-making abilities. The difficulty in making these decisions is reflected by the agreement of experienced shoulder surgeons only 63.5% of the time regarding the treatment performed. When uncertainty occurs, patients may have reduced outcomes as seen in the ORIF treatment group.

KEYWORDS:

Displaced; ORIF; arthroplasty; decision making; evolution; proximal humerus fractures; reverse shoulder arthroplasty; uncertainty

PMID:
29433645
DOI:
10.1016/j.jse.2017.09.033
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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