Immobilization Period for the Non-Operative Treatment of Proximal Humerus Fractures: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis



1 Orthopedics Research Center, Ghaem Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran



Objectives: Proximal humerus fractures (PHFs) are common fractures in the elderly and are typically 
treated conservatively with immobilization. However, there is no consensus on whether to choose early 
or late conventional mobilization, taking their outcomes into ac count. This paper reviews comparative 
studies on the clinical outcomes of one- and three-week immobilization periods in terms of limb function, 
pain intensity, and complications following the adoption of the non -surgical treatment of PHF.
Methods: The current systematic review started with searching PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases 
for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on PHF patients to compare the clinical outcomes between patients receiving 
the one-week mobilization (early mobilization) and those receiving the three-week mobilization (late mobilization). 
We also performed a meta-analysis to compare the two groups’ limb function and pain levels at three and six months 
of follow-up.
Results: Five of the seven RCTs had adequate data to be included in the meta-analysis. The quantitative results 
showed that the early mobilized patients had improved limb function at three [weighted mean difference (WMD): 
5.15 (CI 95%: 0.68-9.62)] and six [WMD: 3.51 (CI 95%: 0.43-6.60)] months, but not at 12 months of follow-up. At 
either three, six, or 12 months, there was no difference in pain intensity between the two groups.
Conclusion: This review supports the adoption of early mobilization at one week for the non-operative management 
of PHFs. However, to compare the long-term effects, more clinical trials with longer follow-ups are needed.
 Level of evidence: I


Main Subjects