Age Helps Forecast Outcome for Distal Radial Fractures

Patient's independence level helps predict bone misalignment after some displaced fractures

WEDNESDAY, Sep. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Age and ulnar variance are among the most reliable indicators of outcomes after distal fractures of the radius, researchers report in the September issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

P. J. Mackenney, F.R.C.S., of the New Royal Infirmary, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues analyzed 5.5 years of data on 4,000 distal fractures of the radius.

The researchers found that different factors predicted instability and misalignment of bones during healing, depending on the fracture's initial displacement. The most reliable predictors of outcome included ulnar variance, a patient's age, and the degree of metaphyseal comminution.

Although dorsal angulation was not found to be a significant outcome predictor, a patient's physical independence level did help forecast malunion in some fractures.

"The study succeeded in identifying the factors that are prognostic of the radiographic outcome for distal radial fractures," the authors wrote. "Formulas to predict the radiographic outcome were constructed as the independent prognostic significance of these factors was quantified."

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