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Journal of the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand 2011;16(2):64-71.
Comparative Study of Clinical and Radiologic Outcomes of Unstable Distal Radius Fractures in Patients 70 Years or Older: Nonoperative Versus Operative Treatment
Yoon Suk Hyun, Jeong Gil Lee, Bum Suk Oh, Bon Jae Koo
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. finedr@hanmail.net
Clinical and radiologic results of operative versus nonoperative treatment were compared in patients 70 years or older who had an unstable distal radius fracture. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From March 2007 to April 2009, 49 patients who had an unstable distal radius fracture treated nonoperatively (22 patients) or operatively (27 patients) were investigated. The radiologic results between the two patient groups were compared based on bone union, dorsal tilt, radial inclination and radial shortening. The clinical results were compared based on disabilities of arm, shoulder & hand (DASH) score, the patient-rated wrist evaluation (PRWE) score, the grip strength and the motion range of the wrist joint.

At the last follow-up examination, DASH score, PRWE score, the flexion, supination and radial deviation of wrist joint and the grip strength did not showed significant difference. Among the patients who received non-operative treatments, 18 of 22 showed radiologically recognizable deformation; average dorsal tilt of 11.9degrees, the average radial inclination of 18.9degrees, and average radial shortening of 3.8 mm. The patients who received operative treatments showed average volar tilt of 3.3degrees, radial inclination of 18.8degrees+/-3.7degrees, and radial shortening of 1.5 mm. Three patients showed radiologically recognizable deformation.

Our results suggest that nonoperative treatment is initially recommended in patients with the age of 70 years or older who have an unstable distal radius fracture in terms of functional results.
Key Words: Distal radius fracture, Nonoperative treatment, Operative treatment

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