The scaphoid is the most frequently fractured carpal bone and accounts for a significant portion of presentations in the emergency department. Managing the patient in the emergency department with the help of an acute magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows early correct treatment and saves the patient wearing a splint unnecessarily if the scaphoid is not actually fractured.
This study by Tamika Kelson from South West Healthcare, Rob Davidson of the University of Canberra, and Tim Baker of CREM compared cost-effectiveness and patient impact for early MRI-based management and conventional management of occult scaphoid fractures in a rural setting.
The study found that MRI dramatically reduces the amount of unnecessary immobilisation, time of treatment and healthcare usage in a rural setting. It decreased societal cost, while the cost to the rural healthcare service was equivalent with either MRI or traditional approaches.
Kelson T, Davidson R, Baker T. Early MRI versus conventional management in the detection of occult scaphoid fractures: what does it really cost? A rural pilot study. J Med Radiat Sci. 2016;63(1):9-16.