Home Member Services Library Orthopaedic Informatics Finding Orthopaedic Information on the Internet - Part II
Finding Orthopaedic Information on the Internet - Part II PDF Print E-mail

Myles Clough, M.D., FRCSC
Vancouver, BC

An Orthopaedic Surfboard
Using Internet search engines to find orthopaedic information is even more of an art form and even more frustrating than finding citations to the literature. We need to visit that subject in the future but for now, we will concentrate on using sites which are more or less guaranteed to have reasonably high quality information on a wide variety of orthopaedic subjects. If you wish to surf the Orthopaedic Internet to find what orthopaedic surgeons have contributed, to gain ideas and to find the gaps into which your own contributions may fit, this would be a reasonable way to start.

To give some structure to this search, let us presuppose a subject – percutaneous pin fixation of distal radius fractures - and see what these selected sites have to offer.

“Textbook” Sites – sites that cover a high percentage of orthopaedic subjects to at least some degree.

  1. Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics (http://www.medmedia.com) is one of the earliest and most successful examples of using hypertext – linked pages and illustrations – to present an orthopaedic subject. Select the main menu and from there go to the “Fracture Menu”. One of the items is “Distal Radius Fractures” which is itself a menu page. Under treatment you will find “Percutaneous Pinning” http://www.medmedia.com/oa2/83.htm with sections on anatomic considerations, outcome studies, specific techniques, bone grafting, assessment of reduction, some case studies and a bibliography. The page has links to other sections on other methods of treatment, radiographic investigation with specific reference to scapholunate disassociation, bone graft harvesting, and a discussion of the Distal Radio-Ulnar Joint. In short, this could be the jumping off point for a comprehensive educational review of the subject. The best thing about it is that you can choose which aspects of the subject to investigate further.
  2. Orthoteers (http://www.orthoteers.com) is a site prepared to assist revision for the British Fellowship examinations. A password is required but is available for free. On the main menu page find the table of “Hand and Wrist” subjects and click on the link to “Distal Radius Fractures”. The treatment here is quite abbreviated but the subject is covered under the headings of Clinical, Classifications, Associated Injuries, Treatment, Intra-Articular Fractures, Prognosis, Complications, Indications for Reduction, and Recent Advances. The site also provides a link to the site entirely devoted to Distal Radius Fractures http://www.eradius.com. There is no separate discussion of percutaneous pin fixation per se but there the technique is mentioned frequently in the context of treatment of the different fracture types.
  3. FUSA Orthopaedic Registrars’ Notebook http://som.flinders.edu.au/FUSA/ORTHOWEB/notebook/home.html is a revision site for trainees in the Australian system. From the main page look up the Trauma menu and then “Forearm Fractures” This gives an account of distal radius fractures in a very compressed form. The author goes through the different types of fracture and states which type of operative or nonoperative treatment should be considered.
  4. Orthonet, the University of Toronto orthopaedic residents’ site has a seminar series page (http://www.orthonet.ca/resources/) with Powerpoint presentations and pdf files. The presentation on distal radius fractures is found under adult orthopaedic trauma and is provided by Dr. Edward J. Harvey from McGill. Orthonet is soliciting contributions to fill out this site.

Breaking News (groan)

  1. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) maintains the abstracts of the past meetings from 1989 to the present. Since much of the new work in North America is initially presented to the AAOS, this is an excellent way of researching hot topics of a subject. On the main page (http://www.aaos.org) select the Search facility http://www4.aaos.org/aaossearch/search.htm. Enter the words percutaneous AND radius into the search box (the Boolean AND must be in capitals). Select the 2002 Annual Meeting to get the most up to date stuff and click on the search button. Three highly relevant presentations are found. If you search all the web pages of the site, a total of 52 pages are found which should certainly give you an overview of what is “hot” in the treatment of distal radius fractures.
  2. eRadius (http://www.eradius.com) posted by Dr. David Nelson, is perhaps the most specialized site on the Orthopaedic Internet. It is entirely focused on the discussion of distal radius fractures by world authorities on the subject. The format of the site is case presentations with discussion of the case by “visiting professors” it is thus one of the most authoritative sites on the Internet with the content provided by the members of the International Distal Radius Fracture Study Group. Searching the archives is by keyword and none exactly match percutaneous pin fixation. So I could not find a case that illustrated our subject. For all that, this site deserves a thorough investigation.
  3. e-hand (http://www.e-hand.com) This site provided by Dr Charles Eaton is an enormous collection of cases, illustrations and didactic teaching. Using the search engine for “distal+radius+fracture” will find you over 200 pages.


  1. The AO North America page on the Comprehensive Classification of Long Bones (http://membrane.com/aona/longbone/index.html) is an extremely valuable resource for those seeking to refine their description of a fracture. The AO classification of distal radius fractures is not used extensively, and has been noted to be subject to inter-observer error. Perhaps this readily accessible site will change that situation.
  2. Trauma.org has an imagebank (http://www.trauma.org/imagebank/imagebank.html) with illustrations of many classification systems and fracture patterns. Contributions to the collection of images on this common subject would be most welcome.
  3. Orthogate (http://www.orthogate.org) is in the throes of organizing an new site which will include a collection of images.

Need more?
The Orthopaedic Web Links (OWL) collection of orthopaedic links (http://owl.orthogate.org) is the largest collection of links to orthopaedic subjects on the Internet. Select Topics, then Trauma then Wrist to see the (relatively small) collection of links to this subject.

Don Johnson and I recently estimated that there were about 100000 pages on the Internet which are primarily about orthopaedics. It seems odd to recommend that you start a search on an orthopaedic subject by confining yourself to just a few sites. The reason is that these sites have been used extensively by orthopaedic surgeons and contain information which is reliable and “mainline”. There is such a tendency to believe that the Internet contains only rubbish that I thought it best to direct you initially to sites with a low rubbish quotient. If you use the outline above to follow your subject through these sites and still have an urge to find more, then you can use the main Internet search engines to find the other 99,000 pages!


Last Updated on Sunday, 28 August 2011 02:37