Management of intra-articular fractures of distal end radius in adults

Satish R. Gawali, Hardikar S. M., S. Prakash, Sunil Nadkarni


Background: Incidence of intra articular fracture L/3rd radius is significantly on rise due to high velocity accidents in young and adults. Painless wrist function is of vital importance for functioning of upper extremity in almost all activities of daily living and precise function of hand. Intra articular fracture of L/3rd radius has generally gross comminution and so also small articular fragments. Orthopaedic community differ about specific implants to fix this complex injury. The present study was undertaken to know efficacy of different modalities of treatment for different fracture pattern. Comminuted intra articular fracture geometry varies widely, to fix these small fragments to achieve stable anatomical reduction is a challenging task.   

Methods: It is a combined i.e. retrospective and prospective study conducted at Hardikar Hospital, Pune, India from 1999 to December 2000. Patients of intra-articular fracture of distal end radius by different modes of treatment are included in the study. 1 patient with unilateral fracture was lost for follow-up. Thus 50 fractures, in 49 patients. were included in study. Clinico-radiological assessment was carried out by Lidstrom's (1959) criteria.

Results: Satisfactory early functional end results with plaster treatment is 72.2% whereas with other modality of treatment it rises to 87.5%, indicating superiority of other modalities of treatment as far as early functional end results are concerned.

Conclusions: Manipulation and plaster cast method continues to be the treatment of choice in the stable intra articular distal radial fractures. Hence there is a need for a "differentiated therapy for distal radial fractures". The treatment plan for patients must be based not only on fracture pattern identified on plain radiographs but also on factors such as bone quality, bone comminution, energy of injury and associated soft tissue damage. Additional factors to be considered in individual patient are-life style associated medical conditions and compliance.


Distal end radius, K-wire, External fixator

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