INTRODUCTION: Optimal management of distal radius fractures in adults remains controversial. Previous evidence and current clinical guidelines tell us that, if a closed reduction of a dorsally displaced fracture is possible, Kirschner wires (K-wires) are the preferred form of surgical fixation. However, the question remains whether there is any need to perform surgical fixation following a successful closed reduction, or is a simple plaster cast as effective? This is the protocol for a randomised controlled trial of manipulation and surgical fixation with K-wires versus manipulation and casting in the treatment of dorsally displaced distal radius fractures. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Adult patients with an acute dorsally displaced fracture of the distal radius are potentially eligible to take part. Prior to surgery, baseline demographic data, radiographs, data on pain/function using the Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation Score (PRWE) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using the EuroQoL 5-dimension 5-level (EQ-5D-5L) will be collected. A randomisation sequence, stratified by centre, intra-articular extension of the fracture and age, will be administered via a secure web-based service. Each patient will be randomly allocated to either 'manipulation and surgical fixation with K-wires' or 'manipulation and plaster casting'. A clinical assessment, radiographs and records of early complications will be recorded at 6 weeks. PRWE and HRQoL outcome data will be collected at 3, 6 and 12 months post-randomisation. Further information will be requested with regard to healthcare resource use and any complications. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The National Research Ethic Committee approved this study on 6 October 2016 (16/SC/0462).The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment monograph and a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal will be submitted on completion of the trial. The results of this trial will substantially inform clinical practice on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the treatment of this injury. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN11980540; Pre-results.
distal radius, protocol, randomised clinical trial, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Bone Wires, Casts, Surgical, Female, Fracture Fixation, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Humans, Male, Manipulation, Orthopedic, Middle Aged, Orthopedic Procedures, Radius, Radius Fractures, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Research Design, Young Adult