To synthesize all-cause reoperations and complications data as well as secondary clinical and functional outcomes, after the management of very distal femur periprosthetic fractures (vDFPFs) in a geriatric patient population with either a distal femoral locking plate (DFLP) or distal femoral replacement (DFR).
MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science were searched for English language articles from inception to March 16, 2020, in accordance to the PRISMA guidelines.
Studies reporting the management of vDFPFs in adults older than 65 years with either a DFLP or DFR were included. To ensure this review solely focused on very distal femoral periprosthetic fractures, only fractures of the following classifications were included: (1) Lewis and Rorabeck type II or III, (2) Su and Associates' Classification of Supracondylar Fractures of the Distal Femur type III, (3) Backstein et al type F2, and/or (4) Kim et al type II or III.
Three reviewers independently extracted data from the included studies. Study validity was assessed using the methodological index for nonrandomized studies (MINORS), a quality assessment tool for nonrandomized controlled studies in surgery.
Twenty-five studies with 649 vDFPFs were included for analysis. There were 440 knees in the DFLP group (mean age range: 65.9–88.3 years) and 209 knees in the DFR group (mean age range: 71.0–84.8 years). Because of the literature's heterogeneity, the data were qualitatively synthesized.
vDFPFs in the elderly treated with DFR underwent fewer reoperations relative to DFLP (0%–45% vs. 0%–77%, respectively). Time to weight-bearing was observably shorter in DFR studies relative to DFLP studies. Functional outcomes and postoperative range of motion indicated a trend for DFLP knees to outperform DFR knees. Future research should include prospective studies and cost-effectiveness evaluations to better understand the utility of DFR for these fractures.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.