Requested project of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America Evidenced-Based Medicine Committee.
The English literature was systematically reviewed for scientific evidence supporting or disputing the common practice of elective removal of implants in children.
Several case series reported implant removal, but none contained a control group with retained implants. No articles reported long-term outcomes of retained implants in large numbers. Several small series describe complications associated with retained implants without evidence of causation. The existing literature was not amenable to a meta-analysis.
By compiling data from the literature, it is possible to calculate a complication rate of 10% for implant removal surgery. The complication rate for removal of implants placed for slipped capital femoral epiphysis is 34%. Articles regarding postmarket implant surveillance and basic science were also reviewed.
There is no evidence in the current literature to support or refute the practice of routine implant removal in children.
From the *Shriners Hospitals for Children-Honolulu; and †Tripler Army Medical Center, Orthopaedic Surgery Service, Honolulu, HI; ‡Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospital, Iowa City, IA; §Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa, Tampa, FL; and ∥Children's Specialists-San Diego, San Diego, CA.
None of the authors received funding for this study.
Reprints: Ellen M. Raney, MD, 1310 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96826. E-mail: email@example.com.