Improved outcomes for proximal humerus fracture open reduction internal fixation augmented with a fibular allograft in elderly patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2022 Apr;31(4):884-894. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2021.11.004. Epub 2021 Dec 11.


Background: To date, no meta-analysis has been performed on the efficacy of fibular allograft augmentation for the management of proximal humerus fractures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the radiographic and clinical outcomes of proximal humerus fractures treated with a locking compression plate (LCP) with or without fibular allograft augmentation.

Methods: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and SCOPUS were queried in June of 2021 for literature comparing the radiographic and clinical outcomes for patients with proximal humerus fractures that were treated with an LCP only or an LCP augmented with a fibular allograft. Data describing study design, level of evidence, demographic information, final follow-up, radiographic changes in humeral head height (HHH), radiographic changes in neck shaft angle (NSA), final American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) scores, final Constant-Murley scores, and major complications were collected. Risk of bias was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS). A meta-analysis was performed using pooled weighted mean differences (WMD) to compare changes in HHH, NSA, final ASES and final Constant-Murley scores between the 2 groups; a pooled odds ratio (OR) was used to compare complications between the groups.

Results: Ten studies with a total of 802 patients were identified. There was a significant difference that favored patients augmented with a fibular allograft for change in HHH (WMD = -2.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.49 to -2.31; P < .00001), change in NSA (WMD = -5.71; 95% CI, -6.69 to -4.72; P < .00001), final ASES scores (WMD = 5.08; 95% CI, 3.69-6.48; P < .00001), and OR for developing a major complication (OR = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.23-0.59; P < .0001). There was no significant difference in final Constant-Murley scores (WMD = 3.36; 95% CI, -0.21 to 6.93; P = .06) or revision surgery rate (P = .182) between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: The pooled WMD and prediction interval suggest that 95% of patients with proximal humerus fractures treated with an LCP augmented with a fibular allograft will have improved radiographic outcomes, improved ASES clinical outcome scores, and decreased odds of a major complication when compared with patients treated with an LCP alone. Limitations of this study include a relatively short average final follow-up time (<2 years) and a potential lack of standardization for radiographic outcomes among included studies.

Keywords: Fibular allograft; endosteal graft; locking compression plate; meta-analysis; proximal humerus fracture; strut allograft.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Allografts
  • Bone Plates
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Humeral Head
  • Open Fracture Reduction*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder
  • Shoulder Fractures* / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Fractures* / etiology
  • Shoulder Fractures* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome