JAAOS, Volume 22, No. 6

The Quest for the Bionic Arm

The current state of research of upper extremity prosthetic devices is focused on creating a complete prosthesis with full motor and sensory function that will provide amputees with a near-normal human arm. Although advances are being made rapidly, many hurdles remain to be overcome before a functional, so-called bionic arm is a reality. Acquiring signals via nerve or muscle inputs will require either a reliable wireless device or direct wiring through an osseous-integrated implant. The best way to tap into the "knowledge" present in the peripheral nerve is yet to be determined.

      • Subspecialty:
      • Hand and Wrist

    Vascular Anomalies of the Hand and Wrist

    Vascular malformations of the hand and wrist are uncommon. They develop from aberrations in angiogenic signaling during vascular development. Unlike hemangiomas, which are characterized by biphasic growth and slow spontaneous involution, vascular malformations continue to grow proportionally with the child. Management is dictated by classification of the vascular malformations, which is based on flow characteristics (ie, low, high) and predominant cell type (ie, venous, lymphatic, capillary, combined, arteriovenous). Initial management is conservative, with the goal of providing relief from pain and swelling. Sclerotherapy, laser treatment, and arterial embolization may be beneficial in well-selected patients. Surgery is indicated in cases of persistent pain and uncontrolled limb swelling leading to functional impairment and/or neurologic compression. The goals of surgery are to excise as much of the lesion as possible while avoiding injury to adjacent nerves, minimizing blood loss, and preventing distal limb ischemia. This mandates careful preoperative planning and meticulous technique. Adjuvant treatments may be warranted, as in the case of preoperative embolization in patients with high-flow lesions.

        • Subspecialty:
        • Hand and Wrist

      Blood Management Strategies for Total Knee Arthroplasty

      Perioperative blood loss during total knee arthroplasty can be significant, with magnitudes typically ranging from 300 mL to 1 L, with occasional reports of up to 2 L. The resultant anemia can lead to severe complications, such as higher rates of postoperative infection, slower physical recovery, increased length of hospital stay, and increased morbidity and mortality. Although blood transfusions are now screened to a greater extent than in the past, they still carry the inherent risks of clerical error, infection, and immunologic reactions, all of which drive the need to develop alternative blood management strategies. Thorough patient evaluation is essential to individualize care through dedicated blood management and conservation pathways in order to maximize efficacy and avoid associated complications. Interventions may be implemented preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively.

          • Subspecialty:
          • Adult Reconstruction

        Plantar and Medial Heel Pain: Diagnosis and Management

        Heel pain is commonly encountered in orthopaedic practice. Establishing an accurate diagnosis is critical, but it can be challenging due to the complex regional anatomy. Subacute and chronic plantar and medial heel pain are most frequently the result of repetitive microtrauma or compression of neurologic structures, such as plantar fasciitis, heel pad atrophy, Baxter nerve entrapment, calcaneal stress fracture, and tarsal tunnel syndrome. Most causes of inferior heel pain can be successfully managed nonsurgically. Surgical intervention is reserved for patients who do not respond to nonsurgical measures. Although corticosteroid injections have a role in the management of select diagnoses, they should be used with caution.

            • Subspecialty:
            • Foot and Ankle

          Physeal Arrest of the Distal Radius

          Fractures of the distal radius are among the most common pediatric fractures. Although most of these fractures heal without complication, some result in partial or complete physeal arrest. The risk of physeal arrest can be reduced by avoiding known risk factors during fracture management, including multiple attempts at fracture reduction. Athletes may place substantial compressive and shear forces across the distal radial physes, making them prone to growth arrest. Timely recognition of physeal arrest can allow for more predictable procedures to be performed, such as distal ulnar epiphysiodesis. In cases of partial arrest, physeal bar excision with interposition grafting can be performed. Once ulnar abutment is present, more invasive procedures may be required, including ulnar shortening osteotomy or radial lengthening.

              • Subspecialty:
              • Pediatric Orthopaedics

            Fungal Osteomyelitis and Septic Arthritis

            Management of fungal osteomyelitis and fungal septic arthritis is challenging, especially in the setting of immunodeficiency and conditions that require immunosuppression. Because fungal osteomyelitis and fungal septic arthritis are rare conditions, study of their pathophysiology and treatment has been limited. In the literature, evidence-based treatment is lacking and, historically, outcomes have been poor. The most common offending organisms are Candida and Aspergillus, which are widely distributed in humans and soil. However, some fungal pathogens, such as Histoplasma, Blastomyces, Coccidioides, Cryptococcus, and Sporothrix, have more focal areas of endemicity. Fungal bone and joint infections result from direct inoculation, contiguous infection spread, or hematogenous seeding of organisms. These infections may be difficult to diagnose and eradicate, especially in the setting of total joint arthroplasty. Although there is no clear consensus on treatment, guidelines are available for management of many of these pathogens.

                • Subspecialty:
                • Basic Science

                • General Orthopaedics