A Meta-analysis of Surgical Versus Nonsurgical Treatment of Primary Patella Dislocation

Gherardo Pagliazzi, Francesca Napoli, Davide Previtali, Giuseppe Filardo, Stefano Zaffagnini, Christian Candrian

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PURPOSE: To compare outcomes after surgery versus nonsurgical treatment in the management of primary lateral patellar dislocation (LPD) through a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in terms of redislocation rate and clinical outcome, investigating both short-term (<6 years) functional recovery and overall benefit over time (>6 years).

METHODS: A systematic search of the literature was performed in November 2018. Risk of bias and quality of evidence were evaluated according to the Cochrane guidelines. RCTs investigating differences between surgery and nonsurgical treatment in primary LPD were included. The outcomes evaluated were redislocation rate, reinterventions, and Kujala score at short-, mid-, and long-term follow-up, with subanalyses for the pediatric population.

RESULTS: We included 510 patients from 10 RCTs in the meta-analysis. Redislocation rate was 0.40 (0.25 to 0.66; P < .001) and 0.58 (0.29 to 1.15; P = .12) at the short- and mid-term follow-ups, respectively, and the risk ratio for the need for further operations at 6 to 9 months' follow-up was 0.14 (0.02 to 1.03; P = .05), all favoring surgery. Concerning the Kujala score, an advantage of the surgical approach of 10.2 points (1.6 to 18.7; P = .02) at short-term follow-up was seen, whereas long-term follow-up results were similar between the groups. The subanalysis of the pediatric population at heterogeneous follow-up confirmed a lower risk of recurrence in surgery, with a risk ratio of 0.60 (0.26 to 1.37; P = .22), although not significant.

CONCLUSION: The literature documents a low number of high-level trials. The meta-analysis of RCTs underlined that the redislocation rate is higher with the nonsurgical approach compared with the surgical one. Moreover, when looking at the clinical outcome, more favorable findings were found with the surgical approach up to 6 years, whereas results seems to be similar at a longer follow-up after either surgical or nonsurgical treatment of primary LPD.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II, meta-analysis of level I and level II randomized clinical trials.


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