Surgical fixation of isolated greater tuberosity fractures of the humerus- systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:October 26, 2021DOI:



      A systematic review was undertaken based on PRISMA guidelines to study the results of surgical treatment of Greater Tuberosity fractures of the Humerus by different techniques (Open, Percutaneous or Arthroscopic) and using different fixation devices (Sutures, Screws and Plates).

      Data sources

      Literature searches were performed for studies in English on four online databases (MEDLINE®, Embase®, Ovid® Emcare and CINAHL®) using a pre-planned search strategy.

      Study selection

      Studies were screened against pre-decided inclusion and exclusion criteria. 24 articles were eligible for inclusion involving 562 patients in all.

      Data extraction

      A template was used for collection of relevant data regarding the study design, demographics, fracture characteristics, surgical techniques and implants used, outcomes, complications and re-operations. Methodological quality was assessed using a modified Coleman Methodology Score.

      Data synthesis

      Pooled analysis was conducted for (1) complications/reoperations of different devices; and (2) reported results using standard outcome measures of various techniques. Results were pooled using inverse variance method. When pooling proportions, we used arcsine transformation to account for zero events.


      Use of screws was associated with higher rates of total complications (23.7%) as well as reoperations (13.2%), compared to sutures (14.2%; 2.6%) and plates (10.6%; 4.1%). In a subgroup analysis, use of low-profile plates (LPPs) was associated with the lowest rates of total complications (4.97%). The superiority of any surgical technique could not be established using the pooled Constant or ASES scores because there was lack of uniformity in the reporting of outcome measures. Our analysis of complications of the various fixation devices dissuades the use of screws and favours the use of low-profile plates. There is a need for prospective studies comparing arthroscopic suture fixation with open low-profile plate fixation of GT fractures.


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