A complex injury of the distal ulnar physis: a case report and brief review of the literature.

University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
American journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.) 01/2012; 41(1):E1-3.
Source: PubMed


Physeal fractures of the distal forearm are common injuries in children and adolescents. However, Salter-Harris type III and type IV fractures of the distal ulnar epiphysis are often high-energy injuries that require open reduction for restoration of anatomical alignment. These injuries are uncommon and there are few descriptions of them in the contemporary literature. Here we report the case of a 13-year-old boy with a type IV distal ulna fracture not diagnosed with standard radiography. After closed manipulation, an incompletely reduced physis was suspected on the basis of fluoroscopic imaging and comparison radiographs of the contralateral wrist. Computed tomography showed a large, displaced physeal fragment. The patient underwent open reduction and internal fixation. Thorough radiographic assessment should be conducted when there is a high suspicion for these fracture patterns. Appropriate diagnosis can lead to expedient reduction and expectant management of sequelae associated with these injuries.

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Available from: Robert J Bielski, Feb 10, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We report the case of a 12-year-old male who sustained a Salter–Harris (SH) type IV physeal fracture of the distal ulna and a SH type II fracture of the distal radius. At 34 months later, he presented with activity-related wrist pain and ulnar variance of −17 mm. He successfully underwent ulnar distraction osteogenesis with radial closing wedge osteotomy. At 16-month follow-up, the patient denied wrist pain with activity, and imaging demonstrated ulnar variance of −3 mm. Epiphyseal fracture separations of the distal radius and ulna have the potential to cause early growth arrest and may become symptomatic as a result. High-energy mechanism, open fracture, number of reduction attempts, and age at injury can all increase the risk of premature closure. Therefore, we recommend longitudinal follow-up of patients with these injuries as earlier intervention may improve outcomes. When premature physeal closure is discovered early, treatment may include resection of the physeal bar, osteotomy with or without epiphysiodesis, and distraction osteogenesis.
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