Smith-Petersen Versus Watson-Jones Approach Does Not Affect Quality of Open Reduction of Femoral Neck Fracture

Joseph T. Patterson, Keisuke Ishii, Paul Tornetta, Ross K. Leighton, Darin M. Friess, Clifford B. Jones, Ari Levine, Jeffrey J. Maclean, Theodore Miclau, Brian H. Mullis, William T. Obremskey, Robert F. Ostrum, J. Spence Reid, John A. Ruder, Anas Saleh, Andrew H. Schmidt, David C. Teague, Antonios Tsismenakis, Jerald R. Westberg, Saam Morshed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective:To compare immediate quality of open reduction of femoral neck fractures by alternative surgical approaches.Design:Retrospective cohort study.Setting:Twelve Level 1 North American trauma centers.Patients:Eighty adults 18-65 years of age with isolated, displaced, OTA/AO type 31-B2 or -B3 femoral neck fractures treated with internal fixation.Intervention:Thirty-two modified Smith-Petersen anterior approaches versus 48 Watson-Jones anterolateral approaches for open reduction performed by fellowship-trained orthopaedic trauma surgeons.Main outcome:Reduction quality as assessed by 3 senior orthopaedic traumatologists as "acceptable" or "unacceptable" on AP and lateral postoperative radiographs.Results:No difference was observed in the rate of acceptable reduction by modified Smith-Petersen (81%) versus Watson-Jones (81%) approach (risk difference null, 95% confidence interval -17.4% to 17.4%, P = 1.00) with 90.4% panel agreement (Fleiss' weighted = 0.63, P < 0.01). Stratified analyses did not identify a significant difference in the rate of acceptable reduction between approaches when stratified by Pauwels angle, basicervical or transcervical fracture location, or posterior comminution. The Smith-Petersen approach afforded a better reduction when preoperative skeletal traction was not applied (RR = 1.67 [95% CI 1.10-2.52] vs. RR = 0.87 [95% CI 0.70-1.08], P = 0.006).Conclusions:No difference was observed in the quality of open reduction of displaced femoral neck fractures in young adults when a Watson-Jones anterolateral approach versus a modified Smith-Petersen anterior approach was performed by orthopaedic trauma surgeons.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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