Learn about important results that came from Fraser Orthopaedic Research Society studies.

Did you know that there are eight different types of fractures but also 206 bones in our body? That means 1,648 possible combinations of surgical or non-surgical intervention.  

Investigating which types of surgical procedures work best for patients has been a part of the Royal Columbian Hospital Orthopaedic Department’s research program for 20 years. Formerly guided by Dr. Robert McCormack for the majority of that period, the Fraser Orthopaedic Research Society is now lead by Dr. Kelly Apostle. Mauri Zomar, their research manager, has supported the department’s physicians in conducting 66 clinical research trials, 25 of which are currently active. In addition, as a site that trains University of British Columbia orthopaedic residents, the research conducted here helps these residents learn research skills.  

These clinical trials focus on determining whether a surgical intervention is better or worse or no different from a non-surgical intervention. The trials are important because their goal is to ensure that patients have the very best likelihood of a good outcome following care.

Here are some examples of important results that came from Fraser Orthopaedic Research Society studies:

  • A surgical procedure did not result in better outcomes than non-surgical intervention for acromio-clavicular joint dislocation, whereas surgery to fix a displaced fracture of the clavicle’s midshaft resulted in better outcomes than non-operative treatment. 
  • Postoperative use of ultrasound after tibia fracture fixation did not improve functional recovery nor did ‘reaming’ the tibia (i.e. cutting bone to produce a hole 1.0 to 1.5 mm larger than the nail) versus non-reaming as part of the procedure to secure the nail required to set a tibia fracture. 
  • In patients with unstable isolated fractures of the fibula, those managed with surgery had a substantially lower risk of displacement and problems with union of the two ends of the broken bone. 
  • For elderly patients with complex humeral fractures at the elbow, this study found that total elbow arthroplasty (i.e. joint replacement) resulted in better functional outcomes compared to open reduction and internal fixation.   

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