Effect of patient age on malunion of operatively treated distal radius fractures

Published online: Dec 27 2010

Nadine Hollevoet

From Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


Radiological outcomes of 200 distal radius fractures following surgical treatment were retrospectively assessed to investigate whether malunion was more frequent in older patients. Malunited fractures were classified into four types : malunion with dorsal or palmar displacement, malunion with incongruity of the radiocarpal joint and malunion with radial shortening. Most fractures were treated with percutaneous K-wire fixation (n = 139) and volar plates (n = 50). Thirty-five percent of fractures were found to be malunited. In patients over 65 years of age, malunion was present in 54 % of the cases. Mean age of patients with malunion was 60 and without malunion 51 years. Patients with dorsal displacement and radial shortening were older than those with palmar displacement and radiocarpal incongruity.