Epidemiology of Distal Radius Fixations and Functional Outcomes in the Superelderly Population

J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2020 Mar;25(1):26-31. doi: 10.1142/S2424835520500034.


Background: Superelderly patients (defined as 80 years old and older) account for 18% of all distal radius fractures in our institution and this number is increasing with the ageing population. When faced with the option of surgery, patients in this age group have concerns with regards to the long term outcomes including functional outcomes and the time to fracture union. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the functional outcomes in this specific population. Methods: Patient selection for surgery was determined by the fracture stability, the patient's premorbid function and underlying comorbidities. Post operatively, the time to fracture union after surgical fixation, surgical complications and patients' functional outcome scores were recorded. The method of anaesthesia and any anaesthesia-related complications were also included. Results: There were 76 superelderly patients who underwent surgical fixation of their distal radius fractures identified from our institution's prospective database from 2009 to 2016. Overall there were good functional outcome scores. The DASH scores at 3 months and 6 months were 17 and 10 respectively. Furthermore, the mean time to fracture union in our population was 47 days (approximately 7 weeks). There were only 2 post-operative surgical complications but no anaesthesia-related complications. Conclusions: Surgical fixation of distal radius fractures in appropriately selected patients in the superelderly population yields good functional outcomes.

Keywords: Distal radius fracture; Elderly; Superelderly; Surgical fixation.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Radius Fractures / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies