BMJ open 2017 08 117(8) e014560 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014560
For any orthopaedic surgeon working with trauma; ankle fractures are one of the most common injuries treated. The treatment of ankle fractures can be conservative, using external fixation, but more commonly the fractures are treated with open reduction and internal fixation. Residual pain and discomfort are common in patients after surgical treatment of fractures of the ankle. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether the pain or discomfort is due to the implants left in situ or the primary injury itself. In many cases, the decision is made to remove the implants. Extraction of internal fixation material from the ankle is a common procedure in many orthopaedic clinics. There are no evidence-based guidelines or consensus regarding the effect of hardware removal from the ankle. The aim of this protocol is to describe the method that will be used to collect, describe and analyse the current evidence regarding hardware removal after fracture healing of the ankle.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS
We will conduct a systematic review of studies that were published after 1967 regarding the benefits of hardware removal in patients with pain or discomfort after fracture healing of the ankle. Study selection will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. We will make a predefined search strategy and use it in several databases. We will include both randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCT studies. We will use descriptive statistics to summarise the studies collected. If more than one RCT is collected then a meta-analysis will be conducted. The quality of evidence will be assessed using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation guidelines.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION
No ethics approval is required as no primary data will be collected. Once complete, the results will be made available by peer-reviewed publication.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER
PROSPERO registration number CRD42016039186.