Patient Recovery Goals Key to Future Distal Fracture Treatment

In patients 60 and older, and age group that commonly suffers distal fractures, it appears that a more personalized approach that takes the patients’ recovery goals, treatment risks, and benefits into account has the same long-term outcome as purely surgical solutions, according to a study published in June 2021 in JAMA Network Open by study authors Kevin C. Chung, MD, MSHyungjin Myra Kim, ScDSunitha Malay, MPH; and Melissa J. Shauver, MPH.

The study found that “In this randomized clinical trial of 182 adults from 24 health systems, there were no significant differences in any 24-month outcome by treatment,” which were comprised of “the 4 treatment strategies of volar locking plates, external fixation, percutaneous pinning, and casting.” Because of the similar outcomes, “patients with unstable distal radius fractures treated with casting can experience good outcomes despite malunion, while avoiding the risks of surgery.”

No significant difference in outcomes between surgery and casting means avoiding surgery and the complications that can arise from it. For the post-60 population, this is good news indeed.

Read the full article at JAMA Network Open:

Chung KC, Kim HM, Malay S, Shauver MJ, WRIST Group. Comparison of 24-Month Outcomes After Treatment for Distal Radius FractureThe WRIST Randomized Clinical TrialJAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(6):e2112710. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.12710