Colles' fracture, a fracture of the lower end of the
radius with displacement of the distal fragment dorsally
Irish surgeon and anatomist, born July 23, 1773, Millmount near
Kilkenny; died November 16, 1843.
X-ray appearance is that of a dorsally angulated fracture
of distal radial metaphysis
(2-3 cm proximal to wrist joint), with or without associated
fracture of the ulnar styloid;
The initial fracture line is almost always on volar side & is
Transverse fracture of the radius just above the wrist with
displacement of hand backward and outward (dorsal displacement of
the distal fragment). Complications may include residual deformity,
loss of mobility, median and ulnar nerve injury, pain in the wrist,
numbness in the fingers, shoulder-hand syndrome, and rupture of the
extensor pollicis longus tendon. The injury is encountered in
patients of either sex and in all age groups, but it is most common
in postmenopausal women, osteoporosis being the predisposing factor.
Treatment may range from simple
immobilization with a splint and sling to a lightweight fiberglass
cast. If cast immobilization is insufficient to repair the fracture,
surgical intervention with internal fixation with pins, or a plate
and screws may be necessary.