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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Feb;(419):51-6.

Nonunion of distal radius fractures.

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Clinic of Hand Surgery, Rhön-Klinikum, Bad Neustadt, Germany.


Nonunion of a distal radius fracture is extremely uncommon. Healing problems in the distal radius seem to be related to unstable situations, such as concomitant fracture of the distal radius and ulna, and to an inadequate period of immobilization. Nonunion should be suspected if there is continuing pain after remobilization of the wrist in combination with a progressing deformity. The diagnosis may be confirmed by showing movement at the fracture site on lateral radiographs of the wrist in flexion and extension. Because of the rarity of distal radius fracture nonunion, it is not surprising that there is no consensus on the optimum mode of operative treatment. Based on our experience with reconstruction surgery in 23 patients, we think that most nonunions of the distal radius are amenable to attempts to re-align and heal the fracture even when the distal fragment is small. Therefore, surgeons should try to preserve even a small amount of wrist motion and reserve wrist fusion as a final resort.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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