Scaphoid Waist Internal Fixation for Fractures Trial - SWIFFT

The SWIFFT Trial Team would very much like to thank you for taking part in this nation-wide multi-centre study which compares two ways of treating patients who have broken their scaphoid bone, one of eight small bones in the wrist. Your participation in the study is providing us with the information we need to be confident in the future about how to treat patients like you who have broken this bone. This important study started in 2013. It is led by Professor Joseph Dias as the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and is coordinated by researchers at the University of York Trials Unit.

What are scaphoid fractures?

The scaphoid bone is one of the carpal bones in your hand around the area of your wrist. It is the most common carpal bone to break (fracture). A scaphoid fracture is usually caused by a fall on to an outstretched hand or a sudden forced twist of the wrist.

Participating hospital sites

Treatment options

Patients are usually treated by putting the wrist in a plaster cast for 6 to 10 weeks. This allows the broken scaphoid bone to heal, but as some do not heal fully, surgery may be needed to fix the bone. In recent years, doctors have developed another way of holding these fractures in place while they heal. This involves an immediate operation to fix the broken bone with a special screw. Surgery may restore hand function earlier and avoid the need for a plaster cast for 6 to 10 weeks. There are risks, however, associated with having an operation, such as infection, bleeding and very rare damage to the nerves.

Purpose of this study

We asked for your help with this study because we are uncertain about whether plaster cast or surgery is better for you. Your participation in this large and detailed study will help us to find this out and will inform the future care of patients. Thank you very much for supporting this national research study. Your time spent completing questionnaires and returning to hospital for your follow up appointments is very important. Please continue to help us with the study even if your injury has healed.

Patient video

Ashley talks about his experience of having a scaphoid fracture and why we need your help.

Patient Video


Progress to date

We are very pleased to have set up 31 hospitals to take part in this study. This shows a substantial interest from hospital doctors and their teams who are very committed to supporting this important study.

As of July 2016, we have met our recruitment target of 438 patients. Thanks again for your tremendous effort to help us achieve this!

Agreeing to take part in the study is very helpful, but we need your continued involvement to be able to fully inform how we care for patients in the future. This includes your attendance at hospital after 6, 12 and 52 weeks and 5 years whilst also also a questionnaire in the post at 26 weeks. In acknowledgement of your time commitment to the study there is a payment of £40 at the 52 week hospital appointment and £80 at the 5 year hospital appointment. In addition, when completing the questionnaire at 26 weeks you will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad worth £500. When you attend the hospital appointment at 52 weeks and five years you will also be entered into prize draws to win an iPad worth £500.  

Patient feedback

Please let us know if you have any comments about this study or the website as we would be interested in hearing your thoughts. The person to contact for this would be Professor Joe Dias at the University Hospitals of Leicester who is the Chief Investigator and in overall charge of the study.

Message from Professor Dias, Chief Investigator

Professor Dias

It is tremendous that so many patients care enough to help us answer which treatment is best for this common fracture. Their contribution will benefit the many thousands of patients each year in the UK and will also help countless thousands of young people with a scaphoid fracture worldwide.”

Key contacts

Quotes from patients in the trial

“I think that if I can be involved in something that is beneficial to people in the same situation then I’m not sure many people will turn down that opportunity”

“the option to have… a CT and an X-ray at 12 months and 5 years… it’s kind of a good opportunity for me to then see my joints and see how it has recovered… if I wasn’t on the trial obviously that option wouldn’t have been there.” 

Please let us know if you are moving address so that we can keep in contact with you.

Professor Joe Dias, Chief Investigator - 0116 5284702 or jd96@leicester.ac.uk

Dr Stephen Brealey, Trial Manager - 01904 321357 or stephen.brealey@york.ac.uk 

Liz Cook, Trial Coordinator - 01904 321522 or liz.cook@york.ac.uk

Dr Sarwat Shah, Trial Coordinator - 01904 321841 or sarwat.shah@york.ac.uk