Classification and management of intra-articular fractures of the distal radius

A. Isani, C. P. Melone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A classification of distal radial articular fractures is described, based on observations of consistent patterns of fracture fragmentation and displacement. The classification categorizes articular fractures into four types, with the medial complex assuming a pivotal position as the cornerstone of both the radiocarpal and distal radioulnar joints. The purpose of this classification is four-fold: (1) to afford identification and an understanding of the displacement characteristics of the major fracture components, (2) to provide practical and rational guidelines for the management of these injuries based on specific fracture patterns, (3) to emphasize the frequency of concurrent soft tissue and other skeletal injuries associated with the more severe types of articular disruption, and (4) to serve as a prognostic gauge for the varied spectrum of distal radius articular injury. Optimal management of distal radius fractures necessitates the differentiation of articular from extra-articular fractures as well as prompt detection of unstable injuries. While the majority of unstable fractures can be successfully managed by closed methods, a substantial and increasing number require open treatment for restoration of articular congruity as well as repair of concomitant soft tissue and skeletal injuries. In all cases, precise reduction of the key medial fragments is essential to maximum recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalHand Clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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