Introduction: Repeated attempts of closed reduction of distal radius fractures (DRF) are performed in the emergency department setting to optimize fracture alignment and avoid surgery. The additional manipulation of the fracture may, however, increase dorsal comminution and lead to loss of reduction in the cast. This retrospective cohort study has investigated the effect of second reduction attempt on fracture alignment and comminution. Materials and methods: Six-hundred-eighteen patients with DRF were treated in the medical center in 2007–2010. Seventy-six (12.3%) DRF who underwent two reductions were included in the study. Radiographs taken after the first and second reduction attempts were reviewed for changes in fracture alignment parameters (radial height, radial inclination, volar tilt) and dorsal comminution length. Patients were also followed retrospectively to determine the rates of secondary displacement in a cast. Results: A second closed reduction attempt improved mean radial height by 1.43 mm, mean radial inclination by 1.62° and mean volar tilt by 8.75°. Mean dorsal comminution length increased by 1.6 mm. Of the 19 (25%) patients with acceptable alignments after two reduction attempts, follow-up radiographs were available for 12, which showed successful reduction in four cases (33.3 or 5.2% of total 76 patients). Conclusions: A second closed reduction attempt improved immediate fracture alignment, but also worsened dorsal comminution. Only 5.2% of patients who underwent two reduction attempts had an acceptable final alignment and did not require surgery. Increased dorsal comminution may further compromise fracture stability, complicate surgery and have negative effect on the postoperative course.
- Closed reduction
- Distal radius fracture
- Dorsal comminution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine