Background Translational medicine (TM) is a bridge between basic science and clinical medicine by translating new knowledge, mechanisms and technologies generated by basic science research into new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. The purpose of this study is to systematically review the literature concerning the two-dimensional and three-dimensional mapping technology (MT) for fractures in orthopedics, to clarify what perspectives MT offers and the current challenges in TM.
Methods A systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. We systematically searched the PubMed, Scopus, IEEE Digital Library, Web of Science database and references of relevant studies, from the establishment of the database through December 2020, for any and all data regarding the application of fracture MT in orthopedics, (including upper limbs, lower limbs, spine, and pelvis). We then made a systematic summary of these research results.
Results A total of 2777 articles were retrieved, and 28 articles met the inclusion criteria: 26 were retrospective studies of using fracture MT and 2 were prospective studies using of fracture MT. The application of fracture MT in orthopaedics was as follows: upper limbs (n=10, 35.71%), lower limbs (n=17, 60.71%), thoracolumbar spine (n=1, 3.58%). Article subjects included: how fracture mapping guided preoperative planning (n = 12, 42.86%); illustration of how the characteristics of fracture line distribution helped surgeons identify specific types of fractures (n=9, 32.14%); and how fracture MT illustrated fracture morphology and guided clinical treatment (n=7, 25.00%).
Conclusion Today, we need a new generation of researchers: 'translational scientists' who are able to transfer ideas from basic research to clinical science. MT is a better technology to describe the morphological classifications of fractures compared to traditional methods, but its clinical application is still limited. Thus, much further research is needed to determine the potential advantages of this new technique in clinical application or practice. If possible, guidelines are needed to facilitate the development of MT with regard to the additional costs and time constraints required for the developing this technic.