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Distal Radius Fractures in the Elderly

Levin, L. Scott MD, FACS; Rozell, Joshua C. MD; Pulos, Nicholas MD

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: March 2017 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 179–187
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-15-00676
Review Article

Distal radius fractures are common in elderly patients, and the incidence continues to increase as the population ages. The goal of treatment is to provide a painless extremity with good function. In surgical decision making, special attention should be given to the patient’s bone quality and functional activity level. Most of these fractures can be treated nonsurgically, and careful closed reduction should aim for maintenance of anatomic alignment with a focus on protecting fragile soft tissues. Locked plating is typically used for fracture management when surgical fixation is appropriate. Surgical treatment improves alignment, but improvement in radiographic parameters may not lead to better clinical outcomes. Treatment principles, strategies, and clinical outcomes vary for these injuries, with elderly patients warranting special consideration.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Levin or an immediate family member has received royalties from Mavrek; has received research or institutional support from AxoGen; and serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the International Hand and Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Society, the United Network for Organ Sharing, the Vascularized Composite Allograft Transplantation Committee, and the World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. Neither of the following authors nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Dr. Rozell and Dr. Pulos.

Received November 24, 2015

Accepted April 18, 2016

© 2017 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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