The demographics and outcomes in patients with bilateral distal radius fractures


distal radius ; bilateral ; fracture ; wrist ; demographics ; outcomes

Published online: Sep 14 2021

Matthew Gonzalez, Ayesha Rahman, Philipp Leucht, Nirmal Tejwani

From the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Health


Although distal radius fractures are quite common, bilateral distal radius fractures seldomly occur. Due to this, treatment is primarily based on surgeon experience with unilateral fractures, however bi- lateral fractures add a level of complexity : loss of functional independence. The purpose of this study was to examine a cohort of patients with bilateral distal radius fractures to identify differences in demographics, mechanism of injury, and outcomes to further our understanding of these rare injuries. 23 patients were identified retrospectively over a 5-year period that met inclusion criteria. The medical records were reviewed with multiple demographic and clinical parameters recorded and analyzed. Males were more likely to sustain high-energy mechanisms (80% vs. 53%). Patients <50 years old were more likely to sustain high-energy mechanisms (90% vs. 46%) and were more likely to be treated operatively (80% vs. 62%). The most commonly associated injury was a head injury (30%). All patients treated non-operatively reported minimal/no pain upon final follow-up where 57% of patients treated operatively noted regular pain. 75% of patients with medical comorbidities had minimal/no pain upon final follow- up. Conclusions : Patients with bilateral fractures were more likely to be younger males who suffered from higher energy mechanisms. Age was a critical factor in determining treatment strategy. Rates of associated head injuries were elevated, which is an important factor for the clinician to keep in mind when treating this population. As we further our understanding of this unique population, we can improve our treatment approaches and subsequently attain better outcomes.