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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011 Nov;93(11):1433-9. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.93B11.26934.

Displaced fracture of the waist of the scaphoid.

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The Glenfield Hospital, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Groby Road, Leicester LE3 9QP, UK.


A displaced fracture of the scaphoid is one in which the fragments have moved from their anatomical position or there is movement between them when stressed by physiological loads. Displacement is seen in about 20% of fractures of the waist of the scaphoid, as shown by translation, a gap, angulation or rotation. A CT scan in the true longitudinal axis of the scaphoid demonstrates the shape of the bone and displacement of the fracture more accurately than do plain radiographs. Displaced fractures can be treated in a plaster cast, accepting the risk of malunion and nonunion. Surgically the displacement can be reduced, checked radiologically, arthroscopically or visually, and stabilised with headless screws or wires. However, rates of union and deformity are unknown. Mild malunion is well tolerated, but the long-term outcome of a displaced fracture that healed in malalignment has not been established. This paper summarises aspects of the assessment, treatment and outcome of displaced fractures of the waist of the scaphoid.

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