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Volar Plating versus Headless Compression Screw Fixation of Scaphoid Nonunions: A Meta-analysis of Outcomes
Background Headless compression screw fixation with bone grafting has been the mainstay of treatment for scaphoid nonunion for the past several decades. Recently, locked volar plate fixation has gained popularity as a technique for scaphoid fixation, especially for recalcitrant or secondary nonunions.
Purpose The purpose of this meta-analysis was to compare union rates and clinical outcomes between locked volar plate fixation and headless compression screw fixation for the treatment of scaphoid nonunions.
Methods A literature search was performed for studies documenting treatment outcomes for scaphoid nonunions from 2000 to 2020. Inclusion criteria consisted of (1) average age > 18 years, (2) primary study using screw fixation, plate fixation, or both, with discrete data reported for each procedure, and (3) average follow-up of at least 3 months. Exclusion criteria consisted of studies with incomplete or missing data on union rates. Data from each study was weighted, combined within treatment groups, and compared across treatment groups using a generalized linear model or binomial distribution.
Results Following title and full-text review, 23 articles were included for analysis. Preoperatively, patients treated with plate fixation had significantly longer time from injury to surgery and were more likely to have failed prior surgical intervention. There was no significant difference between union rates at 92 and 94% for screw and plate fixation, respectively. However, plate fixation resulted in longer time to union and lower modified Mayo wrist scores.
Conclusion Patients treated with locked volar plate fixation were more likely to be used for recalcitrant or secondary nonunions. There was no statistically significant difference in union rates between screw and plate fixation. The results from this meta-analysis support the select use of locked volar plate fixation for scaphoid nonunion, especially recalcitrant nonunions and those that have failed prior surgical repair.
Received: 08 September 2020
Accepted: 19 October 2020
Article published online:
03 January 2021
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