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Therapeutic approaches of diametaphyseal radius fractures in children

  • Trauma Surgery
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There are clear standards for when to operate on both distal epiphyseal and diaphyseal forearm fractures in children. However, paediatric surgeons are often faced with fractures in the transition zone between metaphysis and diaphysis. This aim of the study is to compare different treatment approaches for diametaphyseal forearm fractures, to classify different types of these fractures, and to define further assessment parameters and treatment recommendations.


This retrospective study included all patients with diametaphyseal radial fractures who were seen at a paediatric surgery clinic between 01.01.2010 and 31.12.2013. Patients were treated either non-surgically (C) or surgically using bicortical Kirschner wire (BC-KW), intramedullary K-wire (IM-KW), elastic stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN), or combined bicortical and intramedullary K-wire (BCIM-KW).


During the study period, 547 patients presented with forearm fractures of which 88 patients (16%) had a fracture in the diametaphyseal region. The majority of diametaphyseal fractures were greenstick fractures (54.4%) followed by transverse fractures (44.3%). Distal fractures were predominantly treated with bicortical K-wiring (BC-KW, 40.5%) or non-surgically (C, 26.2%). Proximal fractures were treated by ESIN osteosynthesis (50%), followed by IM-KW (30%). Intermediate fractures were just as likely to be treated with one out of the 5 above-mentioned techniques. The ulna was involved in 64 of 88 cases. Depending on the type of fracture, it was treated either by ESIN osteosynthesis or non-surgically. No superior operative technique was identified.


The description of diametaphyseal fractures as a separate entity is important, because the therapy of these fractures is heterogeneous and challenging. A classification into proximal, intermediate, and distal may be useful in clinical decision-making. Despite the retrospective nature of this study, our data suggest that the use of a K-wire or combined technique BCIM-KW-technique, whenever technically feasible, achieves better radiological results without secondary dislocation. Further prospective studies are needed to provide better guidance to trauma surgeons.

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Stark, D., Denzinger, M., Ebert, L. et al. Therapeutic approaches of diametaphyseal radius fractures in children. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 144, 1179–1188 (2024).

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