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1.  The natural course of spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee (SPONK) 
Acta Orthopaedica  2013;84(4):410-414.
Background and purpose
Spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee (SPONK) is a painful lesion in the elderly, frequently leading to osteoarthritis and subsequent knee surgery. We evaluated the natural course and long-term consequences of SPONK in terms of need for major knee surgery.
Between 1982 and 1988, 40 consecutive patients were diagnosed with SPONK. The short-term outcome has been reported previously (1991). After 1–7 years, 10 patients had a good radiographic outcome and 30 were considered failures, developing osteoarthritis. In 2012, all 40 of the patients were matched with the Swedish Knee Arthroplasty Register (SKAR) and their medical records were reviewed to evaluate the long-term need for major knee surgery.
At the 2012 review, 33 of the 40 patients had died. The mean follow-up time from diagnosis to surgery, death, or end of study was 9 (1–27) years. 17 of 40 patients had had major knee surgery with either arthroplasty (15) or osteotomy (2). All operated patients but 1 were in the radiographic failure group and had developed osteoarthritis in the study from 1991. 6 of 7 patients with large lesions (> 40% of the AP radiographic view of the condyle) at the time of the diagnosis were operated. None of the 10 patients with a lesion of less than 20% were ever operated.
It appears that the size of the osteonecrotic lesion can be used to predict the outcome. Patients showing early signs of osteoarthritis or with a large osteonecrosis have a high risk of later major knee surgery.
PMCID: PMC3768043  PMID: 23799344
2.  Treatment of spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee (SPONK) by a bisphosphonate 
Acta Orthopaedica  2012;83(5):511-514.
Background and purpose
Primary spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee is a painful lesion in the elderly without any known cause. The onset of pain is usually acute. The prognosis is poor with high frequency of osteoarthritis, joint surface collapse, and subsequent knee surgery. In the present study, we determined whether bisphosphonates can prevent the joint surface collapse by delaying the post-necrotic remodeling.
Patients and methods
Between 2006 and 2009, 17 consecutive patients (mean age 68 years) with clinical and radiographic signs of knee osteonecrosis were identified and given alendronate, 70 mg perorally, once a week for a minimum of 6 months. The patients were followed clinically, radiographically, and by MRI.
10 of the 17 patients did not develop osteoarthritis (group A), 4 patients developed mild osteoarthritis but no knee joint surface collapse (group B), and 3 patients had a joint surface collapse (group C). 2 of the 3 patients in group C—as compared to none in the other groups—stopped medication prematurely, due to side effects.
Compared to a previous, untreated series of osteonecrosis patients at our hospital, the clinical results in the present series appeared better. 59% of the patients had a complete radiographic recovery, as compared to 25% in the original study. 12% were failures regarding need to undergo surgery when bisphosphonates were given, as compared to 32% in the previous untreated series. An anticatabolic drug delaying the remodeling might be an effective treatment in osteonecrosis of the knee but further (preferably randomized) studies are necessary.
PMCID: PMC3488179  PMID: 22998531
3.  External or internal fixation in the treatment of non-reducible distal radial fractures? 
Acta Orthopaedica  2011;82(5):610-613.
Background and purpose
We have previously shown in a randomized study that in the first year after treatment, open reduction and internal fixation resulted in better grip strength and forearm rotation than closed reduction and bridging external fixation. In the present study, we investigated whether this difference persists over time.
Patients and methods
The 50 patients included in the original study (mean age 53 years, 36 women) were sent a QuickDASH questionnaire and an invitation to a radiographic and clinical examination after a mean of 5 (3–7) years.
All 50 patients returned the QuickDASH questionnaire and 45 participated in the clinical and radiographic examination. In the internal fixation group, the grip strength was 95% (SD 12) of the uninjured side and in the external fixation group it was 90% (SD 21) of the uninjured side (p = 0.3). QuickDASH score, range of motion, and radiographic parameters were similar between the groups.
The difference originally found between internal and external fixation in distal radial fractures at 1 year regarding grip strength and range of motion was found to diminish with time. At 5 years, both groups had approached normal values.
PMCID: PMC3242960  PMID: 21895505
4.  A single bisphosphonate infusion does not accelerate fracture healing in high tibial osteotomies 
Acta Orthopaedica  2011;82(4):465-470.
Bisphosphonates increase the callus size and strength in animal fracture studies. In a human non-randomized pilot study of high tibial osteotomies in knee osteoarthritis, using the hemicallotasis (HCO) technique, bisphosphonates shortened the healing time by 12 days. In the present randomized study, we wanted to determine whether a single infusion of zoledronic acid reduces the time to clinical osteotomy healing. Results from the same trial, showing improved pin fixation with zoledronate, have been published separately.
46 consecutive patients (aged 35–65 years) were operated. At 4 weeks postoperatively, the patients were randomized to an intravenous infusion of either zoledronic acid or sodium chloride. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was performed 10 weeks postoperatively. Radiographs were taken at 10 weeks and every second week until there was radiographic and clinical healing. Healing was evaluated blind, with extraction of the external fixator as the endpoint. At 1.5 years, an additional radiograph was taken and the hip-knee-ankle (HKA) angle measured to evaluate whether correction had been retained.
All osteotomies healed with no difference in healing time between the groups (77 (SD 7) days). Bone mineral density and bone mineral content, as assessed with DEXA, were similar between the groups. Radiographically, both groups had retained the acquired correction at the 1.5-year follow-up.
In this randomized comparison, a single infusion of zoledronic acid increased the pin fixation of the external frame but did not shorten the healing time. In both groups, the external fixator was extracted almost 2 weeks earlier than in previous studies. The early extraction did not cause a loss of correction in either group.
PMCID: PMC3237038  PMID: 21689069
5.  The Artelon CMC spacer compared with tendon interposition arthroplasty 
Acta Orthopaedica  2010;81(2):237-244.
Background and purpose The Artelon CMC spacer is designed for surgical treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) in the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb (CMC-I). Good results using this degradable device were previously presented in a pilot study. We now present results from a larger randomized, controlled, multicenter study.
Patients and methods 109 patients (94 females) with a mean age of 60 (42–83) years, suffering from painful CMC OA, were included in the study at 7 centers in Sweden. The patients were randomized to Artelon CMC spacer (test, n = 72) or tendon arthroplasty (control, n = 37) at a ratio of 2:1. Perceived pain was recorded on a visual analog scale (VAS) before treatment and after 3, 6, and 12 months, when measuring maximal tripod pinch strength (primary outcome measure). In addition, range of motion, radiographic findings, and functional testing were recorded pre- and postoperatively.
Results Swelling and pain were more common in the test group and 6 implants were removed because of such symptoms. 5 of these patients did not receive antibiotics preoperatively according to the study protocol. In a per-protocol analysis, i.e. patients without signs of concomitant OA in the scaphoid-trapezium-trapezoid (STT) joint and those in the test group who received antibiotics, the mean difference in tripod pinch strength increase, adjusted for baseline, was 1.4 kg in favor of the test group (not statistically significant). Statistically significant pain relief was achieved in both groups, with perceived pain gradually decreasing during the follow-up period. In the intention-to-treat analysis but not in the per-protocol analysis, significantly better pain relief (VAS) was obtained in the control group. Patient-perceived disability evaluated by the DASH questionnaire improved in both groups.
Interpretation The Artelon CMC spacer did not show superior results compared to tendon interposition arthroplasty. Proper use of preoperative antibiotics and a thorough patient selection appear to be important for the results.
PMCID: PMC2895345  PMID: 20180717
6.  Open reduction and internal fixation compared to closed reduction and external fixation in distal radial fractures 
Acta Orthopaedica  2009;80(4):478-485.
Background and purpose In unstable distal radial fractures that are impossible to reduce or to maintain in reduced position, the treatment of choice is operation. The type of operation and the choice of implant, however, is a matter of discussion. Our aim was to investigate whether open reduction and internal fixation would produce a better result than traditional external fixation.
Methods 50 patients with an unstable or comminute distal radius fracture were randomized to either closed reduction and bridging external fixation, or open reduction and internal fixation using the TriMed system. The primary outcome parameter was grip strength, but the patients were followed for 1 year with objective clinical assessment, subjective outcome using DASH, and radiographic examination.
Results At 1 year postoperatively, grip strength was 90% (SD 16) of the uninjured side in the internal fixation group and 78% (17) in the external fixation group. Pronation/supination was 150° (15) in the internal fixation group and 136° (20) in the external fixation group at 1 year. There were no differences in DASH scores or in radiographic parameters. 5 patients in the external fixation group were reoperated due to malunion, as compared to 1 in the internal fixation group. 7 other cases were classified as radiographic malunion: 5 in the external fixation group and 2 in the internal fixation group.
Interpretation Internal fixation gave better grip strength and a better range of motion at 1 year, and tended to have less malunions than external fixation. No difference could be found regarding subjective outcome.
PMCID: PMC2823185  PMID: 19857180

Results 1-6 (6)