JAAOS, Volume 22, No. 2

Management of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Chronic musculoskeletal pain results from a complex interplay of mechanical, biochemical, psychological, and social factors. Effective management is markedly different from that of acute musculoskeletal pain. Understanding the physiology of pain transmission, modulation, and perception is crucial for effective management. Pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies such as psychotherapy and biofeedback exercises can be used to manage chronic pain. Evidence-based treatment recommendations have been made for chronic pain conditions frequently encountered by orthopaedic surgeons, including low back, osteoarthritic, posttraumatic, and neuropathic pain. Extended-release tramadol; select tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and anticonvulsants; and topical medications such as lidocaine, diclofenac, and capsaicin are among the most effective treatments. However, drug efficacy varies significantly by indication. Orthopaedic surgeons should be familiar with the widely available safe and effective nonnarcotic options for chronic musculoskeletal pain.

      • Subspecialty:
      • Pain Management

    Composite Bone Models in Orthopaedic Surgery Research and Education

    Composite bone models are increasingly used in orthopaedic biomechanics research and surgical education—applications that traditionally relied on cadavers. Cadaver bones are suboptimal for many reasons, including issues of cost, availability, preservation, and inconsistency between specimens. Further, cadaver samples disproportionately represent the elderly, whose bone quality may not be representative of the greater orthopaedic population. The current fourth-generation composite bone models provide an accurate reproduction of the biomechanical properties of human bone when placed under bending, axial, and torsional loads. The combination of glass fiber and epoxy resin components into a single phase has enabled manufacturing by injection molding. The high level of anatomic fidelity of the cadaver-based molds and negligible shrinkage properties of the epoxy resin results in a process that allows for excellent definition of anatomic detail in the cortical wall and optimized consistency of features between models. Recent biomechanical studies of composites have validated their use as a suitable substitute for cadaver specimens.

        • Subspecialty:
        • Basic Science

        • General Orthopaedics

      Fresh Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation for the Knee: Current Concepts

      Fresh osteochondral allograft (OCA) transplantation has been used to manage a wide spectrum of chondral and osteochondral knee disorders. Basic science and clinical studies support the safety and efficacy of the procedure. Transplantation of viable, mature hyaline cartilage into the affected area is an advantage of the procedure, which can be used to restore bone stock in complex or salvage scenarios. Indications for OCA transplantation in the knee include primary management of large chondral or osteochondral defects and salvage of previously failed cartilage repair. The procedure also can be used for complex biologic knee reconstruction in the setting of osteonecrosis, fracture malunion, or posttraumatic arthritis. Challenges associated with OCA transplantation include allograft storage and size matching, tissue availability, chondrocyte viability, the possibility of immunologic graft response, and a demanding surgical technique. Future research should focus on optimizing allograft viability and healing and refining current surgical indications and techniques.

          • Subspecialty:
          • Sports Medicine

        Application of Biologics in the Treatment of the Rotator Cuff, Meniscus, Cartilage, and Osteoarthritis

        Advances in our knowledge of cell signaling and biology have led to the development of products that may guide the healing/regenerative process. Therapies are emerging that involve growth factors, blood-derived products, marrow-derived products, and stem cells. Animal studies suggest that genetic modification of stem cells will be necessary; studies of cartilage and meniscus regeneration indicate that immature cells are effective and that scaffolds are not always necessary. Current preclinical animal and clinical human data and regulatory requirements are important to understand in light of public interest in these products.

            • Subspecialty:
            • Sports Medicine

          Arthroscopic Subscapularis Repair

          As the largest and most powerful rotator cuff muscle, the subscapularis plays a critical role in proper shoulder function. The diagnosis of subscapularis tears is made based on history and physical examination and confirmed with imaging studies. Historically, subscapularis tears have been addressed in an open fashion. Recent literature has demonstrated successful all-arthroscopic repair of isolated subscapularis tears and anterosuperior rotator cuff tears. Successful arthroscopic treatment follows several critical steps: patient positioning, portal placement, obtaining adequate visualization and working space, identifying and mobilizing the subscapularis tendon, preparation of the tendon edge and lesser tuberosity, appropriate anchor placement, suture passage, and finally, secure knot-tying and fixation. Excellent functional and clinical outcomes following these steps have been demonstrated by various investigators. Additional research is needed, however, because direct comparison between all-arthroscopic and open subscapularis repair is limited, and neither technique has proved to be superior.

              • Subspecialty:
              • Shoulder and Elbow

            Surgical Management of Metastatic Long Bone Fractures: Principles and Techniques

            Management of metastatic long bone fractures requires identification of the lesion and the use of sound fracture fixation principles to relieve pain and restore function. The treating surgeon must understand the principles of pathologic fracture fixation before initiating treatment. Because these fractures occur in the context of a progressive systemic disease, management typically involves a multidisciplinary approach. When considering surgical stabilization of these fractures, the abnormal (or absent) healing environment associated with diseased bone and the overall condition of the patient must be taken into account. The goal of surgery is to obtain a rigid mechanical construct, which allows for early mobility and weight bearing. This can be achieved using internal fixation with polymethyl methacrylate cement or segmental resection and joint reconstruction. Prosthetic joint arthroplasty is a more reliable means of fracture management when insufficient bone is present for fixation. Prophylactic stabilization of impending pathologic fractures can reduce the morbidity associated with metastatic lesions.

                • Subspecialty:
                • Musculoskeletal Oncology