Surgical vs Non-surgical interventions for distal radius fractures: a quantitative analysis of Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation measures


DRF, surgery, PRWE, non-surgical

Published online: Jan 09 2024


Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College Rd, London SW7 2AZ, UK


Trials to assess differences in PRWE (Patient Related Wrist Evaluation) over time, for both surgical and non-surgical interventions post DRFs (distal radius fractures) are rare. The DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) questionnaire has been shown to be improved by a greater margin in the medium term for surgical interventions, than non surgical interventions. However, a study found that PRWE can be considered superior to the DASH questionnaire for DRFs, due to greater specificity to wrist pain and function. Conflicting data makes it difficult to determine surgical vs non-surgical superiority for DRF’s over time with PRWE as a recovery metric. PubMed and Cochrane were searched for randomised controlled trials up to 31.8.23, reporting PRWE over 3, and 12 months. Data was extracted by 2 researchers. The differences in PRWE over time post surgical and non-surgical interventions was assessed using unpaired T testing. 1226 records were screened. 4 studies enrolling 817 participants met the eligibility criteria and were analysed. Significantly lower PRWE in surgical intervention has been identified at the 3 month mark (p<0.001). There was greater significant change in non-surgical intervention between months 3 and 12 (p<0.001). Change in PRWE over time may be a good indicator of functional outcomes in DRFs post surgical or non-surgical interventions. This could inform future clinical trial design and surgical decision-making. Further work is required to design even more user-friendly and digital patient- reported outcomes specifically for DRFs.