Operative Versus Nonoperative Treatment for Displaced Intra-Articular Calcaneal Fractures: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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The purpose of the present study was to perform an updated meta-analysis of the operative versus nonoperative treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures in adults. We searched the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Google Scholar for eligible studies. All published randomized controlled trials comparing operative with nonoperative treatment for displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures were eligible. The meta-analysis was performed using RevMan, version 5.0, software. Seven studies assessing 824 patients were eligible for the meta-analysis. The pooled results indicated no significant differences between the 2 groups with regard to the functional results. The incidence of complications was 25.0% (80 of 319) in the operative group and 16.6% (55 of 330) in the nonoperative group (relative risk 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 2.08; p = .006) with a significant difference. The rate of subtalar arthrodesis was significantly lower in the operative group than in the nonoperative group. The current evidence is still insufficient to ascertain whether operative treatment is superior to nonoperative treatment for displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures. Operative treatment can reduce the risk of late subtalar arthrodesis but is associated with a greater risk of complications. The small sample size and the great heterogeneity of the included studies made it difficult to draw conclusions regarding some of the combined results. Furthermore, more high-quality, randomized controlled trials with long-term follow-up data on this issue are required to provide evidence for surgeons to make an informed decision.

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