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INTRODUCTION: Open extremity fractures can be life-changing events. Clinical guidelines on the management of these injuries aim to standardise the care of patients by presenting evidence-based recommendations. We performed a scoping systematic review to identify all national clinical practice guidelines published to date. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A PRISMA-compliant scoping systematic review was designed to identify all national or federal guidelines for the management of open fractures, with no limitations for language or publication date. EMBASE and MEDLINE database were searched. Article screening and full-text review was performed in a blinded fashion in parallel by two authors. RESULTS: Following elimination of duplicates, 376 individual publications were identified and reviewed. In total, 12 clinical guidelines were identified, authored by groups in the UK, USA, the Netherlands, Finland, and Malawi. Two of these focused exclusively on antibiotic prophylaxis and one on combat-related injuries, with the remaining nine presented wide-scope recommendations with significant content overlap. DISCUSSION: Clinical practice guidelines serve clinicians in providing evidence-based and cost-effective care. We only identified one open fractures guideline developed in a low- or middle-income country, from Malawi. Even though the development of these guidelines can be time and resource intensive, the benefits may outweigh the costs by standardising the care offered to patients in different healthcare settings. International collaboration may be an alternative for adapting guidelines to match local resources and healthcare systems for use across national borders.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur j orthop surg traumatol

Publication Date



Guidelines, Lower extremity, Lower limb, Open fractures, Plastic surgery, Trauma