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Cracking the code on common wrist injury
Date:2/4/2010

ROSEMONT, Ill The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recently approved and released an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the Treatment of Distal Radius Fractures. A distal radius fracture one of the most common fractures in the body usually occurs as a result of a fall. For example, a fall may cause someone to land on his or her outstretched hands, breaking the larger of the two bones in the forearm, near the wrist.

  • In 2007, more than 261,000 people visited the emergency room due to a distal radius fracture.

"The Academy created this clinical practice guideline to improve patient care for those sustaining a distal radius fracture," stated David Lichtman, MD, chair of this guideline workgroup. "This serves as a point of reference and an educational tool for both primary care physicians and orthopaedic surgeons, streamlining possible treatment processes for this ever-so common problem," he added. "While a wide range of treatment options are available, they should always be tailored to individual patients after discussions with their orthopaedic surgeons."

The final patient-oriented guidelines for treating distal radius fractures contain 29 evidence-based recommendations overall, some of which are included below:

  • The research suggests that a rigid cast is better than a splint if the fracture was displaced.
  • If a fracture was not displaced as in a hairline crack a removable splint can be worn.
  • If a fracture has a tendency to fall back the way it was before the physician fixed it, research suggests that these fractures heal better if the surgeon operates on them, rather than treating them with a cast.

According to the work group, one key question that needs to be answered in future research is whether surgeons should perform the same operations and use the same fixation methods with older patients as they do with younger patients. Lichtman points out t
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Contact: Lauren Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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