Various technical tips have been described on the placement of poller screws during intramedullary (IM) nailing; however studies reporting outcomes are limited. Overall there is no consistent conclusion about whether intramedullary nailing alone, or intramedullary nails augmented with poller screws is more advantageous.
We conducted a systematic review of PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. Seventy-five records were identified, of which 13 met our inclusion criteria. In a systematic review we asked: (1) What is the proportion of nonunions with poller screw usage? (2) What is the proportion of malalignment, infection and secondary surgical procedures with poller screw usage? The overall outcome proportion across the studies was computed using the inverse variance method for pooling.
Thirteen studies with a total of 371 participants and 376 fractures were included. Mean follow-up time was 21.1 months. Mean age of included patients was 40.0 years. Seven studies had heterogenous populations of nonunions and acute fractures. Four studies included only acute fractures and two studies examined nonunions only.
The results of the present systematic review show a low complication rate of IM nailing augmented with poller screws in terms of nonunion (4%, CI: 0.03–0.07), coronal plane malunion (5%, CI: 0.03–0.08), deep (5%, CI: 0.03–0.11) and superficial (6%, CI: 0.03–0.11) infections, and secondary procedures (8%, CI: 0.04–0.18).
When compared with the existing literature our review suggests intramedullary nailing with poller screws has lower rates of nonunion and coronal malalignment when compared with nailing alone. Prospective randomized control trial is necessary to fully determine outcome benefits.
Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2020;5:189-203. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.5.190040