To evaluate the clinical efficacy of internal fixation versus hemiarthroplasty in the treatment of unstable intertrochanteric fractures in the elderly.
A search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases up to April 2020. The present study compared internal fixation and hemiarthroplasty in the treatment of unstable intertrochanteric fractures in the elderly. RevMan5.3 software provided by the International Cochrane Group was used for the meta-analysis. To compare the differences in the operation time, intraoperative bleeding, length of hospital stay, superficial infection, Harris hip score, mortality within 1 year, mortality within 2 years, reoperation, incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), partial weight-bearing time, non-union, and implant-related complications between an internal fixation group and an hemiarthroplasty group.
A total of 1300 patients were included in nine studies. The results showed that the operation time (MD = -18.09, 95% CI: -27.85–8.34, P = 0.0003), intraoperative bleeding (MD = -195.31, 95% CI: -244.8–147.74, P < 0.0001), implant-related complications (MD = 3.83, 95% CI: 1.74-8.45, P = 0.0008), and partial weight-bearing time (MD = 17.21, 95% CI: 1.63-32.79, P = 0.03) have statistical significance. However, there is not statistical significance for the Harris hip joint function scale (HHS) (MD = 5.60, 95% CI: -1.13-12.33, P = 0.10), DVT (MD = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.45-2.27, P = 0.97), length of hospital stay (MD = -1.08, 95% CI: -2.82-0.66, P = 0.22), superficial Infection (OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.43-1.98, P = 0.89), mortality within 1 year (OR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.61-1.48, P = 0.81), mortality within 2 years (OR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.61-1.43, P = 0.75), reoperation (MD = 1.80, 95% CI: 0.64-5.04, P = 0.26), and non-union (OR = 1.20, 95% CI: 0.48-3.03, P = 0.70). The result of the subgroup analysis showed no significant differences between the less than 2 years follow-up and the 2 years or more follow-up group. The only difference was for the Harris hip score: the internal fixation group was superior to the hemiarthroplasty group in the less than 2 years subgroup analysis, while there was no difference between the internal fixation group hemiarthroplasty group in the 2 years or more subgroup analysis.
Compared with the internal fixation group, those in the hemiarthroplasty group could carry out weight-bearing training early and implant-related complications were reduced, but it requires longer operation time and there is greater intraoperative blood loss. There is no difference in mortality, the incidence of DVT, non-union, HHS, reoperation, length of hospital stay, and superficial infection. Hemiarthroplasty may be a better choice for unstable intertrochanteric fractures in the elderly.

© 2020 The Authors. Orthopaedic Surgery published by Chinese Orthopaedic Association and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.