Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Splinting after contracture release for Dupuytren's contracture (SCoRD): protocol of a pragmatic, multi-centre, randomized controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Splinting as part of the overall post-surgical management of patients after release of Dupuytren's contracture has been widely reported, though there is variation in practice and criteria for using it. The evidence on its effectiveness is sparse, of poor quality and contradictory with studies reporting negative and positive effects.

METHODS/DESIGN: A multi-centre, pragmatic, randomized, controlled trial is being conducted to evaluate the effect of static night splinting for six months on hand function, range of movement, patient satisfaction and recurrence at 1 year after fasciectomy or dermofasciectomy. Using a centrally administered computer randomization system consented patients will be allocated to one of two groups: i) splint group who will be given a static splint at approximately 10 to 14 days after surgery to be worn for 6 months at night time only as well as hand therapy; ii) non-splint group, who will receive hand therapy only. The primary outcome measure is the patient-reported Disabilities of the Arm, Hand and Shoulder Questionnaire (DASH). Secondary outcomes are total active flexion and extension of fingers, patient satisfaction and recurrence of contracture. Outcome measures will be collected prior to surgery, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after surgery. Using the DASH as the primary outcome measure, where a difference of 15 points is considered to be a clinically important difference a total of 51 patients will be needed in each group for a power of 90%. An intention-to-treat analysis will be used.

DISCUSSION: This pragmatic randomized controlled trial will provide much needed evidence on the clinical effectiveness of post-operative night splinting in patients who have undergone fasciectomy or dermofasciectomy for Dupuytren's contracture of the hand.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 57079614.

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