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Papers of the Week

2020 Jun 04

J Am Acad Orthop Surg

Evaluation and Management of Carpal Fractures Other Than the Scaphoid.


Catalano LW, Minhas SV, Kirby DJ
J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2020 Jun 04.
PMID: 32501853.


Fractures of the carpus can be debilitating injuries and often lead to chronic pain and dysfunction when not properly treated. Although scaphoid fractures are more common, fractures of the other carpal bones account for nearly half of all injuries of the carpus. Often missed on initial presentation, a focused physical examination with imaging tailored to the suspected injury is needed to identify these fractures. In addition to plain radiographs, advanced imaging such as CT and MRI are helpful in diagnosis and management. Treatment of carpal fractures is based on the degree of displacement, stability of the fracture, and associated injuries. Those that require surgical fixation often affect the congruency of the articular surfaces, are unstable, are at risk for symptomatic nonunion, are associated with notable ligamentous injury, or are causing nerve or tendon entrapment. Surgical strategies involve percutaneous Kirschner wires, external fixation, screws and/or plates, excision, or fusion for salvage. Owing to the intimate articulations in the hand, small size of the carpal bones, and complex vascular supply, carpal fracture complications include symptomatic nonunion, osteonecrosis, and posttraumatic arthritis.