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Distal Radial Fracture Rates Vary Across the Nation

Whites and women are more commonly affected; type of treatment varies by region

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of distal radial fractures varies widely by sex, age, race, and geographic region, and the type of treatment also varies by age and region, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Jason Fanuele, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed 1998 to 2004 Medicare Part B claims data and identified 107,190 fracture patients.

The researchers found that rates of distal radial fracture per 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries was significantly higher among whites than non-whites (136 versus 59) and women than men (189 versus 39), and significantly varied by region (from a high of 220 in Spartanburg, S.C., to a low of 47 in New Orleans). They also found significant regional variations in the rates of nonoperative treatment (60 to 96 percent), percutaneous fixation (2 to 39 percent), and open treatment (0.4 to 25 percent).

"No one knows the appropriate rate of operative treatment of distal radial fractures, but the wide variation found in this study supports the notion that better evidence-based treatment guidelines are needed," the authors conclude. "With more data on outcomes, including patient satisfaction, functional results, and complications, we might be able to identify the 'right rate.'"

Authors of the study reported relationships with Small Bone Innovations, Smith and Nephew, Wright Medical Technology, Tornier, and Acumed.

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