Does Surgical Repair Benefit Pipkin Type I Femoral Head Fractures? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sung Huang Laurent Tsai, Wei Che Tai, Tsai Sheng Fu, Eric H. Tischler, Rafa Rahman, Yong Kuan Lim, Yi Hsun Yu, Chun Yi Su*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Femoral head fractures are rare injuries with or without traumatic dislocations. The management of these fractures is crucial to prevent the development of severe complications and to achieve optimal functional outcomes. Wide treatment options for Pipkin 1 femoral head fractures range from fragment excision, fixation following open reduction with internal fixation, or conservative treatment such as close reduction alone after fracture dislocation. However, the best decision making remains controversial not only due to lack of large trials, but also inconsistent results reported. Therefore, we aim to compare the operative with nonoperative outcomes of Pipkin type 1 patients. Patients and Methods: We systemically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane library, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations to identify studies assessing outcomes of Pipkin type 1 patients after conservative treatment, and open reduction with excision or fixation. Data on comparison of clinical outcomes of each management were extracted including arthritis, heterotopic ossification (HO), avascular necrosis (AVN), and functional scores (Thompson Epstein, Merle’ d Augine and Postel Score). We performed a meta-analysis with the available data. Results: Eight studies (7 case series and 1 RCT) were included in this study. In a pooled analysis, the overall rate of arthritis was 37% (95% CI, 2–79%), HO was 20% (95% CI, 2–45%), and AVN was 3% (95% CI, 0–16%). In comparison of management types, the excision group reached the best functional outcomes including Thompson Epstein Score (poor to worse, 9%; 95% CI, 0–27%) and Merle d’ Aubigne and Postel Score (poor to worse, 18%; 95% CI, 3–38%); ORIF group had the highest AVN rate (11%; 95% CI, 0–92%); conservative treatment had the highest arthritis rate (67%; 95% CI: 0–100%) and lowest HO rate (2%; 95% CI, 0–28%). Discussion: This meta-analysis demonstrates that different procedures lead to various clinical outcomes: fragment excision may achieve better function, conservative treatment may result in a higher arthritis rate, while ORIFs may have a higher AVN rate. These findings may assist surgeons in tailoring their decision-making to specific patient profiles. Future RCTs with multicenter efforts are needed to validate associations found in this study. Level of Evidence: II, systematic review and meta-analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Arthritis
  • Femoral fractures
  • Femur head necrosis
  • Fracture fixation
  • Hip dislocation


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