Intramedullary Nailing Versus Plate Fixation for the Treatment Displaced Midshaft Clavicular Fractures: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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The two commonly performed surgical techniques used to repair displaced midshaft clavicle fractures are plate fixation or intramedullary nailing; however, despite recent evidence, the optimal method to treat such fractures remains a continued topic of debate. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to evaluate long term function, complications, and operative duration in adult patients receiving intramedullary nailing in comparison to plating. Seven RCTs and three quasi-randomized trials were included. No significant difference was found in long-term function between the two groups (MD: -0.66, 95% CI: -2.03 to 0.71, I2 = 62%, p = 0.34). Patients who received plating had a 2.19 times increased risk of treatment failure, but this failed to reach significance (95% CI: 0.93 to 5.15, I2 = 0%, p = 0.07). The risk of non-operative complications was 2.11 times higher in patients who received plating and this reached statistical significance (95% CI: 1.38 to 3.23, I2 = 53%, p = 0.0006). Finally, plating significantly prolonged operative duration by 20.16 minutes (95% CI: 16.87 to 23.44, I2 = 56%, p < 0.00001). Our results suggest that intramedullary nailing and plating provide equivalent long-term functional outcomes; however, plating may lead to a higher risk of treatment failure and non-operative complications.
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