DISTAL RADIUS FRACTURE
A fall onto the outstretched hand, often on a slippery surface, would be a common cause for this injury. There will be pain, swelling, and sometimes visible deformity/angulation at the wrist. Often the severity of symptoms demands urgent attendance at the NHS Accident and Emergency department for initial diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosis is usually confirmed by standard x-ray examination and there is a wide variety of fracture patterns and severities.
MRI scans can be useful to detect minor fractures and ligament injuries within the wrist. ACT scans can be useful in evaluating complex fracture patterns and may assist in guiding the correct choice of surgical treatment.
The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture, ranging from a plaster cast, through manipulation, and pinning, to the more complex use of internal and external fracture fixation.
Developed over the last decade, the Volar Locking Plate has greatly increased the possibility of accurately fixing complex fractures. The fixed angle between the internal plate and fixation pegs and screws creates an internal scaffold to hold the fracture position whilst bone healing occurs. This surgical treatment is known to speed up recovery time and to reduce the time for restrictive splinting.