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Clin Orthop Surg. 2018 Mar;10(1):64-73. English. Meta-Analysis.
Al-Ajmi TA , Al-Faryan KH , Al-Kanaan NF , Al-Khodair AA , Al-Faryan TH , Al-Oraini MI , Bassas AF .
Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Al-Faisal Private University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
California State University, College of Science, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Surgical and conservative methods have been reported by various studies for high rates of fracture union and subsequent regain of function among patients with undisplaced or minimally-displaced scaphoid fractures. Hence, this study aims to analyze the best available evidence to comprehend the relative benefits and risks of these therapeutic options.


A systematic search of the literature from different databases and search engines was performed with strict eligibility criteria to obtain the highest quality of evidence. All randomized controlled trials delineating the outcomes of surgical versus conservative treatments for acute undisplaced or minimally-displaced scaphoid fractures were included and then evaluated using scoring tools: Cochrane risk of bias tool and PEDro scale. Data were pooled using random-effects models with standard mean differences for continuous outcomes and risk ratios for dichotomous variables.


The search yielded 339 potentially related articles, further trimmed down to eight studies based on the eligibility criteria. The meta-analysis revealed that surgical treatment resulted in significantly better functional outcomes than conservative treatment. Furthermore, surgery resulted in the prevention of delayed union of fractures and reduction of time needed to return to work.


While four studies reported advantages of surgical treatment, evidence was insufficient to provide a definitive conclusion that surgery is a better option. Due to the significant limitations with respect to certain variables, the superiority of one method to the other could not be established.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.