Subtrochanteric pathological fractures (PFs) occur in approximately one-third of femur bone metastases. We seek to analyze surgical treatment strategies for subtrochanteric metastatic PFs and their revision rates.
A systematic review was performed using the PubMed and Ovid databases. Reoperations as a result of complications were analyzed according to initial treatment modality, primary tumor site, and type of revision procedure.
We identified a total of 544 patients, 405 with PFs and 139 with impending fractures. The study population's mean age was 65.85 years with a male/female ratio of 0.9. Patients with subtrochanteric PFs who underwent an intramedullary nail (IMN) procedure (75%) presented a noninfectious revision rate of 7.2%. Patients treated with prosthesis reconstruction (21%) presented a noninfectious revision rate of 8.9% for standard endoprostheses and 2.5% for tumoral endoprostheses (p < 0.001). Revision rates because of infection were 2.2% for standard and 7.5% for tumoral endoprostheses. There were no infections within the IMN and plate/screws group (p = 0.407). Breast was the most common primary tumor site (41%) and had the highest revision rate (14.81%). Prosthetic reconstructions were the most common type of revision procedure.
No consensus exists regarding the optimal surgical approach in patients with subtrochanteric PFs. IMN is a simpler, less invasive procedure, ideal for patients with a shorter survival. Tumoral prostheses may be better suited for patients with longer life expectancies. Treatment should be tailored considering revision rates, patient's life expectancy, and surgeon's expertise.
Level of Evidence:
Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.