Can Distal Radial Fractures be Primarily Immobilized in Circumferential Plaster Cast?
Keywords:plaster, cast, fracture, circumferential
Objective: To assess whether primary immobilisation in a full circumferential plaster cast after reduction of a distal radius fracture is associated with a higher neurovascular complication rate.
Study design: Descriptive analytical study
Methods: All consecutive patients with distal radius fractures needing manipulation and primarily treated with a full plaster cast were analysed for fracture type, complications and final outcome. A questionnaire survey on the telephone was also done of the local hospitals of Punjab to see the trend of the treatment of such fractures in their emergency departments.
Results: Out of 357 patients, 89.7% (n=320) had no complications, 10% (n=36) patients had swelling of the fingers and 0.3% (n=1) complained of symptoms associated with median nerve compression. In all these cases, their symptoms were relieved by simply splitting the cast longitudinally down to the skin.
Conclusion: This study shows that a full plaster cast can be safely applied after manipulation of distal radius fracture. A few patients may need splitting of the cast in the event of finger swelling.
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