Functional assessment in patients with osteoporotic wrist fractures treated with external fixation: a review of randomized trials

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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2008 Jun 17. [Epub ahead of print] Hoang-Kim A, Scott J, Micera G, Orsini R, Moroni A. INTRODUCTION: Osteoporosis is a chronic and progressive condition that leads to decreased bone mass and skeletal fragility which may result in fractures, disability, pain, deformity and even death. Fractures of the wrist are the most common symptomatic fracture related to osteoporosis in which up to 80% of the persons with this fracture type have low bone mass. External fixation is minimally-invasive and is used in particular for the treatment of displaced, unstable fractures. OBJECTIVE: The present systematic review will present functional outcome assessment in randomized controlled trials in the aged with distal radius fractures and treated with external fixation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiple databases including Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and OVID Healthstar were searched. MESH headings such as: ‘Radius fractures’ or ‘wrist injuries’ were used in combination with ‘randomized controlled trials’. Studies were included if the surgical treatment was external fixation, mean patient age was 50 years and over, and were in the English language. RESULTS: The primary focus of wrist outcome assessments in patients treated with external fixation were based on traditional measures such as wrist range of movement and grip strength reflecting the need to shift the focus in future protocols towards measuring a patient’s functional ability, measuring the difficulty of task performance and compensatory mechanisms. Furthermore, it is essential to take into account more evidence of instrument development before clinicians can reliably choose the best measure to assess the aged treated with external fixation.

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