Purpose: There is no consensus regarding treatment of humeral shaft fracture. In this meta-analysis, we pooled studies to compare dynamic compression plate with locked intramedullary nail for this injury.
Methods: PubMed, MEDLINE, and Embase databases were searched for relevant studies published between January 1995 and July 2012. Evaluated endpoints were method-related complications and revision. Study quality was assessed, and meta-analyses were analyzed using the Cochrane Collaboration's REVMAN 5.0 software.
Results: Fourteen randomized controlled (RCTs) and nonrandomized studies with 727 patients were analyzed. There was a significantly higher risk of total method-related complications and shoulder impairment resulting from locked intramedullary nailing compared with dynamic compression plating. Plating was significantly associated with a higher risk of infection and postoperative nerve palsy. There was no significant difference with respect to nonunion and revision rate.
Conclusions: Nailing may cause more method-related complications and shoulder impartment than plating, although it may lead to a lower risk of infection and postoperative nerve palsy. In the future, more high-quality RCTs are required to enhance these conclusions.