Early Complications Following Osteosynthesis of Distal Radius Fractures: A Comparison of Geriatric and Nongeriatric Cohorts

Richard M. Hinds, John T. Capo, Sanjeev Kakar, James Roberson, Michael B. Gottschalk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Distal radius fractures (DRFs) are common geriatric fractures with the overall incidence expected to increase as the population continues to age. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the short-term complication rates in geriatric versus nongeriatric cohorts following osteosynthesis of DRFs. Methods: The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) part II database was queried for adult DRF cases performed from 2007 to 2013. Current Procedural Terminology codes were used to identify cases treated via osteosynthesis. Patient demographic information and reported complication data were analyzed. Comparisons between geriatric (age ≥65 years) and nongeriatric (age <65 years) patients were performed. Results: From 2007 to 2013, a total of 9867 adult DRFs were treated via osteosynthesis by ABOS part II candidates. Geriatric patients comprised 28% of the study cohort. Mean age of the geriatric and nongeriatric cohorts was 74 ± 7 and 46 ± 13 years, respectively. There was a greater proportion of female patients (P <.001) in the geriatric cohort as compared with the nongeriatric cohort. The geriatric cohort demonstrated higher rates of anesthetic complications (P =.021), iatrogenic bone fracture (P =.021), implant failure (P =.031), loss of reduction (P =.001), unspecified medical complications (P =.007), and death (P =.017) than the nongeriatric cohort. The geriatric cohort also showed lower rates of nerve palsy (P =.028) when compared with the nongeriatric cohort, though no differences in rates of secondary surgery were noted between the two cohorts. Conclusion: Increased rates of complications related to poor bone quality and poor health status may be expected among geriatric patients following osteosynthesis of DRFs. However, geriatric and nongeriatric patients have similarly low rates of secondary surgery. Future studies are needed to delineate the economic, functional, and societal impact of geriatric DRFs treated via osteosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-33
Number of pages4
JournalGeriatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • complications
  • distal radius
  • fracture
  • geriatric
  • internal fixation
  • osteosynthesis
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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