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J Hand Surg Am. 2001 Sep;26(5):908-15.

The frequency and epidemiology of hand and forearm fractures in the United States.

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  • 1Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The University of Michigan Hand Center, The University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0340, USA.


The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency and describe the epidemiology of hand and forearm fractures in the United States. We extracted cases with ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes of 813.0 to 817.1 from the 1998 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. In 1998 there were 1,465,874 estimated cases of hand/forearm fractures, accounting for 1.5% of all emergency department cases. Radius and/or ulna fractures comprised the largest proportion of fractures (44%). The most affected age group was 5 to 14 years of age (26%). Private insurance paid for 49% of the cases. Most of the fractures occurred at home (30%); the street/highway was the second most likely fracture location (14%). Accidental falls caused the majority (47%) of fractures. Large database analysis provides important information that can be used to target interventions toward vulnerable populations and to allocate adequate resources for treating upper extremity fractures.

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