Choosing the Best Treatment: Surgery vs. Conservative Care for Radius Fractures

Choosing the Best Treatment: Surgery vs. Conservative Care for Radius Fractures
Published on, 25 May, 2024. Answered by Dr. Hans Joachim Poessel and Verified by Dr.Galen Team
Patient Question

Hello Doctor,


I have a fracture in my right hand radius, and the doctor initially recommended surgery. However, I opted for conservative treatments. After three months, an X-ray revealed a 2mm ulna Variance and a step-off surface gap of 3mm. My wrist motion is limited, with flexion at 60 degrees and extension at 50 degrees. The radial height measures at 12cm. Can surgery still correct this malunion, or is the current condition acceptable?



Thank you for reaching out to Dr. Galen. Please find the below response to your query.


Typically, fractures heal within six weeks, and the window for surgical intervention narrows after this period. However, surgical corrections can still be considered in your case. It's important to weigh the risks involved, as undergoing surgery at this stage presents higher risks and entails more intricate procedures. This may include reopening the affected area, cutting, and introducing bone material to restore the length of the radius. It's worth noting that despite surgical intervention, there remains a risk of the radius shortening, which can lead to further complications. Additionally, the ulnar protrusion you're experiencing may ultimately result in arthritis if left untreated.


Instability in radius fractures is a significant concern, which is why surgical intervention is often recommended. I advise consulting with a hand surgeon who specializes in treating such conditions. They can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and discuss the available treatment options in detail. Whether you choose to proceed with surgery or maintain the current course of treatment, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the potential outcomes and implications.




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About Dr. Hans Joachim Poessel

Dr. Hans Joachim Poessel

Orthopedic Surgeon / Orthopedist

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