|Study ID||Items and grades||Items and grades||Items and grades||Notes|
|Study ID||Item 1: Allocation concealment Item 2: Intention-to-treat analysis Item 3: Outcome assessor blinding Item 4: Comparable baseline characteristics||Item 5: Participant blinding Item 6: Treatment provider blinding Item 7: Identical care programmes Item 8: Clearly defined inclusion criteria||Item 9: Well defined outcome measures Item 10: Optimal outcome assessment Item 11: Optimal timing of follow up (> 1 year) In brackets: date of last follow up; % lost to last follow up||Comments and explanations for specific items|
|Atroshi 2006||Y, Y, ?, Y||N, N, Y, Y||Y, Y, ? (1 year; 5% at 1 year)||Item 3: blinding for physical examination (grip strength, range of motion).|
|Hutchinson 1995||N, ?, N, ?||N, N, ?, Y||Y, ?, Y (2 years; 8% at 1 year)||Item 11: note that only 52/60 were followed up at 2 years; 13% lost to last follow up. Rest only followed up 1 year.|
|Krishnan 2003||?, ?, N, ?||N, N, ?, Y||Y, ?, ? (1 year; ?%)||Item 2: no report of drop-outs. |
Item 4: small imbalances in numbers of males, age and hand dominance.
|McQueen 1996||?, Y, N, Y||N, N, ?, Y||Y, ?, ? (1 year; 10%)|
|McQueen 1998||Y, ?, N, Y||N, N, Y, Y||Y, ?, ? (1 year; 7%)||Item 2: some discrepancies in full trial report and between full report and one abstract.|
|Moroni 2001||?, ?, N, Y||N, N, ?, Y||Y, ?, N (6 weeks; 5%?)||Item 2: loss to follow up not reported but missing data points on graph for 1 person.|
|Raskin 1993||?, ?, N, N||N, N, ?, ?||?, N, Y (12 to 60 months; 0%)||Item 4: no information on gender, difference in mean ages, 5 more serious fractures in the external fixator group. |
Item 10: variable length of follow up.
|Sommerkamp 1994||N, N, N, N||N, N, ?, Y||Y, ?, Y (12 months after fixator removal; 34%)||Item 2: exclusions for non-compliance with rehabilitation regimen. |
Item 4: data not provided for whole group.
|Werber 2003||?, ?, N, Y||N, N, Y, ?||Y, ?, ? (6 months, 0%)||Item 2: some discrepancies between full report and the two abstract reports. |
Item 3: independent assessment of radiographs.