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Acta Orthop Scand. 1998 Jun;69(3):277-9.

Preoperative traction for hip fracture: a randomized comparison between skin and skeletal traction in 78 patients.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


153 consecutive patients with displaced cervical and trochanteric hip fractures were considered for inclusion in this study. 75 were excluded because of senile confusion and the remaining 78 were randomized to skeletal or skin traction preoperatively. The effect on pain alleviation was evaluated with a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and by the number of doses of analgesics administered. The processing time through the emergency department, radiographic department and to the ward, as well as time to operation, was registered. No significant difference in the VAS pain evaluation was found. There was a small significant increase in consumption of analgesics of no clinical importance in patients with skin traction, and no effect of traction type on the processing time or time to operation. Fracture type did not affect the outcome. Since half of the patients found the application of skeletal traction painful, compared to one fifth with skin traction, skeletal traction should not be routinely used to alleviate pain preoperatively in these patients.

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