Distal Radius Fracture Fixation
What is a distal radius fracture fixation?
A distal radius fracture is a fracture that occurs in the radius bone, one of the larger bones in the forearm. The distal end of the radius bone is located nearest the wrist. The most common cause of this type of fracture is a fall on an outstretched arm. Fractures during this type of break most often occur within an inch from the end of the bone. The most common type of distal radius fracture is called a Colles fracture, which occurs when a broken fragment of the radius tilts upward after the break. Other types of distal radius fractures include an intra—articular fracture, an extra articular fracture, an open fracture, and a comminuted fracture. The type of fracture that occurs dictates what treatment is required. A patient may require a distal radius fracture fixation if the bone is out of place and needs to be surgically corrected and placed in a cast. If left untreated, a fracture can impact the function of the arm. A distal radius fracture fixation in an open reduction internal fixation procedure, which requires an incision be made and surgical hardware such as screws be placed to set the bones in the correct position.
What is a distal radius fracture fixation procedure like?
Before a distal radius fracture fixation, the patient will undergo a physical exam that will assess blood circulation and if any nerves were affected by the fracture. X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI may also be ordered to examine the fracture and the surrounding structures. The patient may also be given a tetanus shot. They will need to inform their doctor if they are currently taking any supplements or medications. The patient may also need to fast prior to the surgical procedure. The procedure is performed under general or local anesthesia. The surgeon will first make an incision and locate the fracture. Any wounds sustained will be cleaned out to prevent infection. The surgeon will then reposition the bones into the correct alignment. They will then secure the bone fragments with metal plates, wires, screws, or pins in order to keep the fractured fragments in the correct positions for healing. The incisions will then be closed and covered with a sterile dressing. Patients will need to return to their doctor for follow up appointments so their doctor can monitor the healing process and remove any stitches or staples used to close the incision. The doctor may also prescribe pain medication and physical therapy after the procedure.
Do you have a fracture that could benefit from this surgical technique? Contact the specialists at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute to learn more about treatment options.