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NIHR Highlight Alternatives to open surgery

Published on 26 July 2016

Over 10 million people in the UK are living with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and the effects of fractures and other injuries. They are the reason for at least 20% of all visits to the GP. These conditions become more common in an ageing population, due to wear and tear on the joints, obesity, thinning of the bones, falls and fractures. Older people are more likely to have additional health conditions, more likely to suffer complications of surgery and less likely to heal quickly or have successful treatment, compared with younger people. Safer, acceptable, more cost effective alternatives to open surgery are urgently needed. To help meet this need, the NIHR has funded major research studies into treatment options for musculoskeletal injuries. Evidence is now increasing on promising alternatives to open surgery, such as less invasive surgery, using slings for arm fractures or special types of plaster cast for ankle fractures, and physiotherapy for the effects of musculoskeletal disorders.

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