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Review: evidence on surgical interventions for distal radial fractures is inconclusive

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 QUESTION: In adults with fractures of the distal radius, is surgical treatment effective for improving clinical outcome?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching 6 databases: the National Research Register Issues, the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group's specialised register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, and CINAHL; hand searching conference proceedings; and scanning reference lists.

Study selection

Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials were selected if they compared surgical interventions with conservative interventions or other surgical interventions in adults with fracture of the distal radius.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient characteristics, intervention, and outcomes (including functional and anatomic outcomes and complications). The quality of studies was assessed.

Main results

44 studies (3193 mainly female and older patients with 3197 fractures) with 23 different comparisons met the selection criteria, with 6 weeks to 10 years of …

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  • Source of funding: East Riding and Hull Health Authority, UK.

  • For correspondence: Professor R Madhok, University of Hull, Willerby, UK. rajan.madhok{at}