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J Hand Surg Br. 1997 Oct;22(5):638-43.

Intraarticular lesions in distal fractures of the radius in young adults. A descriptive arthroscopic study in 50 patients.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Lund University Hospital, Sweden.


We examined the frequency of associated chondral and ligament lesions in distal fractures of the radius in young adults (men 20-60 years, women 20-50 years). Fifty initially displaced fractures were examined arthroscopically. Chondral lesions were found in 16 patients (32%). All patients but one were found to have a ligamentous injury in the wrist. No major instability was found. The most frequent ligament tear was the triangular fibrocartilage complex in 39 cases (78%), with a statistical correlation to ulnar styloid fractures. The scapholunate ligament was partially or totally torn in 27 cases (54%). No correlation was found between specific fracture type and pattern of ligament injury. Chondral and ligamentous lesions were frequent and may explain poor outcomes after seemingly well-healed distal fractures of the radius. The ligament lesions should also be kept in mind when early mobilization of the distal fracture of the radius is considered.

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