Background and purpose
Evidence guiding the decision on whether to treat proximal hamstring tendon avulsions (PHA) operatively or non-operatively is very limited. The aim of this study was to identify the current practices and the rationale behind PHA treatment decisions in the Nordic countries.
A survey was sent to orthopaedic surgeons in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. The study population consisted of responding surgeons with exposure to surgical treatment of PHA (n = 125). The questions covered surgeon and unit characteristics, and surgeons’ understanding of the evidence for treatment, and they explored which patient and injury factors influence treatment allocation.
Although some surgeons indicated a preference for one of the treatments, 84% stated that the treatment decision was based on patient and injury-related factors. Severe obesity, drug abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, age > 60 years and delayed diagnosis (> 6 weeks) were considered contraindications to surgical treatment. Also, there was agreement that patients expressing a preference for non-operative treatment should not be operated. Complete avulsions with tendon dislocation ≥ 2–3 cm on MRI were relative indications for surgical treatment.
The majority of surgeons did not believe that operatively treated patients did better than non-operatively treated patients and experienced that patients, generally, were satisfied with the treatment result, regardless of the type of treatment. Most surgeons had experienced significant complications to operative treatment.
Current practices varied among different units, and despite the lack of evidence for their prognostic value, several factors were inconsistently being used as decision modifiers when selecting patients for surgical treatment.
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