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Bone & Joint Open
Vol. 5, Issue 2 | Pages 117 - 122
9 Feb 2024
Chaturvedi A Russell H Farrugia M Roger M Putti A Jenkins PJ Feltbower S


Occult (clinical) injuries represent 15% of all scaphoid fractures, posing significant challenges to the clinician. MRI has been suggested as the gold standard for diagnosis, but remains expensive, time-consuming, and is in high demand. Conventional management with immobilization and serial radiography typically results in multiple follow-up attendances to clinic, radiation exposure, and delays return to work. Suboptimal management can result in significant disability and, frequently, litigation.


We present a service evaluation report following the introduction of a quality-improvement themed, streamlined, clinical scaphoid pathway. Patients are offered a removable wrist splint with verbal and written instructions to remove it two weeks following injury, for self-assessment. The persistence of pain is the patient’s guide to ‘opt-in’ and to self-refer for a follow-up appointment with a senior emergency physician. On confirmation of ongoing signs of clinical scaphoid injury, an urgent outpatient ‘fast’-wrist protocol MRI scan is ordered, with instructions to maintain wrist immobilization. Patients with positive scan results are referred for specialist orthopaedic assessment via a virtual fracture clinic.