Distal Radius Fracture

Distal Radius Fracture
December 20, 2015

With more than 6,000 hand and upper extremity surgeries to his credit Dr Vikas Gupta has affluently been fixing Distal Radius Fractures for more than 15 years and considers the radius to be the most commonly broken bone in the arm with many treatment options. According to him the treatment option has to be carefully individualized after reviewing the type and severity of the fracture keeping in mind the needs and health of the injured.

The patient should immediately consult our medical team >> click here for appointment

After being a spokesman at various conferences / workshops on topics and courses related to distal radius fractures Dr Gupta while explaining DRF in simple terms says, “There are two bones in the forearm and the larger of the two is called radius. The end of this bone radius, towards the wrist is known as its distal end. When the area of the radius breaks at the distal end i.e. near the wrist it is termed as DISTAL RADIUS FRACTURE. Most commonly a fall on your outstretched arm can cause DRF but the probability of it increases if you are already suffering from osteoporosis or any other metabolic bone disease and are older than 60 years of age where even a minor fall can break your wrist. A broken wrist can also happen in healthy bones if the force of injury is severe enough like in a car accident or fall from a bike. On breaking your wrist you will feel immediate pain and your wrist will feel tender on touch. It will swell and feel like it is bruised. Many times the wrist when breaks, hangs in an odd or a bent way and you should immediately consult a surgeon if you undergo any of these symptoms.”

The patient should immediately consult our medical team >> click here for appointment

distal-radial-fractures-miamiDiagnostic tests help to determine the exact quantum of injury and the technique by which it has to be treated. Distal Radius Fracture can be treated from casting to pinning depending on the severity of the fracture or can be operated upon with plates or screws.

It is essential to consult an efficient surgeon to restore anatomic alignment of this important bone and navigating a patient through a particular treatment plan is a complex task and requires consideration of multiple factors and close attention during the healing phase.

As a result of his contributions and understanding of distal radius fractures Dr. Gupta was invited as consultant to USA for design of new variable angle locking plate for distal radius fractures. This implant has been FDA approved and already been used in USA and while speaking about various techniques of treating DRF Dr Vikas emphasizes, “The scope of treatment for distal radius fractures has changed considerably in recent years reducing complications and improving clinical outcomes be it casting or open surgery by internal or external fixation.”

Withan experience of 20 years at AIIMS, New Delhi and advance training from USA and Germany to enhance his expertise Dr. Vikas has been:

  • The first surgeon in India to treat DRF using 2.4 mm LDRS plates
  • Among the first few surgeons to treat DRF with multiple plates
  • Treat DRF by Variable angle 2 column locking compression plate
  • The first surgeon in India to perform Arthroscopic assisted reduction and fixation of fractures of distal radius (a minimally invasive technique for fixation of distal radius fractures using 2.4 mm arthroscope)

“Considering the gravity of the injury, the impact that it might have on the patient’s life both immediate and long term, it is important that the patient has a thorough understanding and clear conceptions of all available treatment options with their expected outcomes”, says Dr. Gupta conclusively.

FAQ – Distal Radius Fractures

The larger of the two bones in the forearm is called the radius. Radius towards the wrist is termed as its distal end. When there is a break in the distal end of the radius bone, it is termed as Distal Radius Fracture.
Distal Radius can break in many ways. The most common being when it tilts upward known as Colles fracture. Other types of Distal Radius Fractures are –
Intra-articular fracture ( into the wrist joint)
Extra-articular fracture ( does not extend into the wrist)
Open fracture (breaks the skin)
Comminuted fracture (two or more breaks).
The most common cause of a Distal Radius Fracture is a traumatic fall on an outstretched arm. Other contributory factors to DRF maybe osteoporosis that makes bones so weak that they are susceptible to easy breaks, people aged more than 60 who can break their radius if they fall from a standing position. A traumatic fall from a bike or a severe car accident can also result in distal radius fracture.
There is immediate pain and swelling in the wrist when it fractures with tenderness and bruising around it. The most significant sign in severe cases is the wrist hanging or getting bent, making it appear deformed.
After an initial inspection of the visible signs, the orthopedic runs an imaging diagnostic test –X-Ray which helps him to conclude the exact nature and severity of the fracture.
Depending on the nature, location of the fracture, age of the patient, occupation, mechanism of injury and surgeon’s preferable technique Distal Radius Fractures are treated by both nonsurgical and surgical methods.
By closed reduction method the surgeon aligns the broken bone and then places it in a splint/cast/brace to immobilize the wrist. Oral medications and therapy exercises are continued to bring relief to the numbness and reduce the enervating pain.
In severe cases of bone displacement the surgeon might undertake open reduction and fixation by metal hardware such as pins, plates, screws, an external frame or a combination of these methods.
The surgeon might also adopt open surgery where with incisions he will repair the broken bone and then take aid of internal or external fixators to hold them in place.
Recovery takes a long time but severe and displaced fractures never completely regain their normal functionality. They always have minor stiffness and ache while doing heavy works but which does not hinder activities as such. Patients with osteoporosis and old age have more trouble coming to terms with it.
There is always a risk of osteoporosis catching up with patients who have sustained wrist fractures.
Time of resuming normal activities depend on each individual because each case has its own complexities. Though in general terms most patients resume light activities like swimming, or driving after 1 to 2 months and vigorous activities can be picked up after 3 to 6 months.
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