Treatment of Acute Achilles Tendon Ruptures A Systematic Overview and Metaanalysis
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A quantitative systematic review of randomized and quasirandomized trials was conducted to determine the effect of surgical versus conservative treatment of acute Achilles tendon ruptures on rates of rerupture. Secondary outcomes included deep infection rates, return to normal function, and minor complaints. A search of computerized databases was conducted to locate clinical studies published from 1969 to 2000. Additional studies were located through hand searches of major orthopaedic journals, bibliographies of major orthopaedic texts, and personal files. Of the 273 citations initially identified, 11 proved potentially eligible, and six met all eligibility criteria. Three investigators independently graded study quality and abstracted relevant data. Among the studies, surgical repair revealed a significant reduction in the risk of rerupture when compared with conservative treatment. Alternatively, the risk of infection with surgical repair was significantly increased. Pooled analysis of studies did not reveal any difference in the risk of minor complaints or return to normal function between surgical repair and conservatively treated groups. Surgical treatment significantly reduces the risk of Achilles tendon rerupture, but increases the risk of infection, when compared with conservative therapy. Wide confidence intervals around the estimates of risk reduction suggest a large trial is needed to establish risks and benefits.
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