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09.11.2017 | Review Article | Ausgabe 3/2018

International Orthopaedics 3/2018

Locking plates versus intramedullary nails in the management of displaced proximal humeral fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis

International Orthopaedics > Ausgabe 3/2018
Qi Sun, Wei Ge, Gen Li, Jiezhou Wu, Guanghua Lu, Ming Cai, Shaohua Li
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00264-017-3683-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To compare the clinical outcome and complications of locking plates versus intramedullary nails in patients with displaced proximal humeral fractures. Our hypothesis was that there would be no difference between these two implants with regard to clinical outcome and complications.


We performed a systemic review of PubMed, EMBASE, Clinical Trials Registry, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Google Scholar to identify all relevant randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective comparative studies on April 26, 2017. The studies of locking plates compared to intramedullary nails in patients with displaced proximal humeral fractures were included. We conducted a meta-analysis of shoulder functional scores, range of motion, pain scores, and complications.


This meta-analysis included 13 comparative studies with 958 patients (529 in the locking plate group and 429 in the intramedullary nail group). A significantly greater external rotation (MD = 9.67; 95% CI, 4.22–15.12; P = 0.0005) and a significantly higher penetration rate (RR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.11–2.77; P = 0.02) were observed in the locking plate group compared with the intramedullary nail group. Constant-Murley scores, DASH scores and total complication rate were comparable between the two groups. Moreover, there were no significant differences in forward elevation, VAS scores, and other complications.


Current evidence indicates that locking plates and intramedullary nails have similar performance in terms of the functional scores and total complication rate. No superior treatment was suggested between locking plates and intramedullary nails for displaced proximal humeral fractures.

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