Background: This study compared radiographic outcomes of pediatric patients undergoing closed reduction of 100% displaced distal radius fractures to a historical, published cohort treated with casting alone. We also examined the expense associated with sedated reduction. Methods: Single-center, retrospective cohort study examining radiographic outcomes following reduction of 100% translated distal radius fractures in 50 consecutive pediatric patients. Radiographic outcomes were compared with a historical cohort published by Crawford and colleagues. Charges associated with emergency department (ED) and clinic visits were compared between the reduction cohort and a comparison cohort of 13 patients with fractures not requiring reduction. Results: Forty-nine children (mean age 4.7 y) were included in this study. Duration of casting averaged 51 days and ED visit duration was 6.6±2.5 hours. Mean sagittal and coronal angulation at time of injury were 16.4 and 15.6 degrees, respectively, and were 13.2 and 9.4 degrees at the time of final follow-up. All fractures achieved radiographic union. Eighteen patients underwent a total of 21 unexpected cast changes. No patients required repeat sedation or surgical management. Angulation after casting was significantly better in the reduction cohort compared with the casting-only cohort initially, however, at final follow-up, both coronal and sagittal angulation were significantly worse in the reduction cohort compared with the casting-only cohort (coronal angulation 8.59 vs. 0.75, P<0.0001; sagittal angulation 13.49 vs. 2.2, P<0.0001). Charge analysis compared 46 patients in the reduction cohort to 13 patients with unreduced fractures from the same institution during the same time period. Mean clinic charges were similar ($1957 vs. $2240, P=0.3008). ED charges were higher in the reduction cohort compared with the nonreduction cohort ($7331 vs. $3501, P<0.001), resulting in higher total charges in the reduction cohort ($9245.04 vs. $5740.99, P<0.001). Conclusions: While closed reduction of 100% translated distal radius fractures in the pediatric population improves angulation initially, casting alone may provide similar or better radiographic outcomes, expedited care, reduced patient exposure to the risks of procedural sedation, and avoidance of ED charges associated with procedural sedation. Level of Evidence: Level III - therapeutic.
- distal radius
- fracture fixation
- hand and wrist
- radius fractures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine