Adding Fracture Bracing for Humeral Shaft Fractures

A network meta-analysis gives you all you need to decide where and when to deploy an underutilized nonsurgical approach.

What’s the Claim?

A high-quality network meta-analysis comparing treatments of humeral shaft fractures from 21 RCTs found:

  • All surgical treatments studied — ORIF, minimally invasive plating, and IM nails — beat fracture bracing in terms of achieving fracture union (94% to 99% for the surgical options vs. 83% for bracing) and avoiding secondary surgery (1% to 8% vs. 21%)
  • Fracture bracing resulted in lower odds of radial nerve palsy (0.5% vs. 2% to 6%) and deep infection (0% vs. 1% to 2%) than surgery
  • The study made claims about time to union favoring surgery, but those differences are not as robust

How’s It Stack Up?