Injuries to the Lisfranc complex, although relatively rare carry a high morbidity and are often associated with other injuries. Despite a number published studies to determine the best operative management, there is an ongoing debate to whether open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) or primary arthrodesis (PA) produces the best outcomes for patients. There have been further studies published in the last few years that have not been assessed as part of the wider literature and therefore we wished to perform an updated systematic review and meta-analysis with inclusion of outcomes not assessed in the previous studies.

We performed a structured search for retrospective and prospective comparative papers and identified 8 relevant articles (2 RCT studies and 6 non-RCT studies) that compared the outcomes of ORIF versus PA; these studies included a total of 547 patients. Each of the studies was assessed for suitability and quality before inclusion. We performed a statistical analysis of the aggregated results as part of the review.

We found no statistically significant difference between the outcomes of ORIF versus PA in terms of return to work or activity (Odds Ratio 0.80 (CI 95%, 0.32-2.02, P=0.64)) and satisfaction rates (Odds Ratio 0.15 (CI 95%, 0.01-.00, P=0.25)). Patients undergoing ORIF have a higher risk of undergoing further surgery to remove the metalwork (Odds Ration 13.13 (CI 95%, 7.65-22.54, P< 0.00001)) or to undergo secondary fusion, but, the overall complication rates appear to be equivalent in both groups (risk difference 0.03 (CI 95%, -0.15-0.21, P=0.76)).

Although there were no significant differences in the functional outcomes, the overall power of the studies is low. The rates of metalwork removal and secondary fusion were higher in the ORIF group and this risk should be presented to the patient when counselling them for any procedure. We noted that there is a high level of heterogeneity in the type of injuries and measured outcomes included in each study and, therefore, further trials are needed to determine the best treatment across the spectrum of Lisfranc complex injuries.