Fractures of the wrist are one of the most common injuries that we see in upper limb orthopaedics. Most result from a simple trip and fall onto an outstretched hand.
Most patients will visit the emergency department when they have an acute injury. There may be some obvious deformity at the wrist after an acute fracture. The emergency team will perform an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the injury.
In many cases, a reduction (where the fracture is restored to the correct alignment) in the emergency department may be possible under sedation. If the fracture alignment can be restored, a back slab may be applied and the patient referred for an orthopaedic review as an outpatient.
In cases of significant displacement where the fracture cannot be reduced adequately in the emergency department, patients may require an open reduction in the operating theatre and internal fixation with a plate.
Wrist fractures vary in severity from simple, undisplaced fractures that can be managed with a cast, through to severely displaced fractures that require urgent surgery.
At St Andrew’s Hospital, we are able to provide an on-call emergency service to deal with acute cases that may need urgent surgical fixation.