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Orthopedics. 2020 Jan 13:1-8. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20200107-01. [Epub ahead of print]

A Qualitative Study Assessing Information on the Internet Compared With AAOS Guidelines for the Treatment of Distal Radius Fractures.

Abstract

The goal of this study was to compare information available on the Internet about the treatment of distal radius fractures with the guidelines established by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in a qualitative observational study. A scoring system was used to compare the top 20 websites, excluding advertisements, from Google, Bing, and Yahoo with the AAOS guidelines. In addition, the results of the advertising content and the social media content were discussed. Of the 32 unique websites included in the study, 22 (68.75%) suggested operative fixation for fractures with unacceptable postreduction alignment (radial shortening >3 mm, dorsal tilt >10°, or intra-articular displacement or step-off >2 mm) as opposed to cast fixation. Of the 32 sites, 26 (81.25%) were unable to recommend for or against any 1 specific operative method for fixation of distal radius fractures. Only 2 of 32 (6.25%) sites mentioned age-specific recommendations, and 6 of 32 (18.75%) mentioned accurate activity protocols. Because the AAOS cannot recommend for or against immobilization of the elbow in patients treated with cast immobilization, it is reasonable that 7 of 32 (21.88%) sites discussed these options. The websites common to all 3 search engines also scored very well, with 84.89% of their recommendations being consistent with the AAOS recommendations. Most websites contain appropriate recommendations for the treatment of distal radius fractures. However, there is a significant amount of misinformation as well. The available information may be difficult for patients to interpret and may affect their expectations about care. [Orthopedics. 2020;43(x):xx-xx.].

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