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Radiographical measurements for distal intra-articular fractures of the radius using plain radiographs and cone beam computed tomography images

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Operative treatment of an intra-articular distal radius fracture is one of the most common procedures in orthopedic and hand surgery. The intra- and interobserver agreement of common radiographical measurements of these fractures using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) and plain radiographs were evaluated.

Materials and methods

Thirty-seven patients undergoing open reduction and volar fixation for a distal radius fracture were studied. Two radiologists analyzed the preoperative radiographs and CBCT images. Agreement of the measurements was subjected to intra-class correlation coefficient and the Bland–Altman analyses.


Plain radiographs provided a slightly poorer level of agreement. For fracture diastasis, excellent intraobserver agreement was achieved for radiographs and good or excellent agreement for CBCT, compared to poor interobserver agreement (ICC 0.334) for radiographs and good interobserver agreement (ICC 0.621) for CBCT images. The Bland–Altman analyses indicated a small mean difference between the measurements but rather large variation using both imaging methods, especially in angular measurements.


For most of the measurements, radiographs do well, and may be used in clinical practice. Two different measurements by the same reader or by two different readers can lead to different decisions, and therefore a standardization of the measurements is imperative. More detailed analysis of articular surface needs cross-sectional imaging modalities.

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The authors declare that they gave no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Nora Suojärvi.

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Suojärvi, N., Sillat, T., Lindfors, N. et al. Radiographical measurements for distal intra-articular fractures of the radius using plain radiographs and cone beam computed tomography images. Skeletal Radiol 44, 1769–1775 (2015).

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