Outcome of Distal Radius Fractures Using the Short Form 36 Health Survey

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The Short Form 36, a survey designed to accurately study subjective findings, was applied to analyze the outcome of distal radius fractures and its' relation to extrinsic and intrinsic factors. The survey was administered to 50 adults (mean age, 49.6 years) requiring fixation of a distal radius fracture with a mean followup of 2.4 years. Treatment included external fixation and pins in 24 patients, buttress plating in 20 patients, pins alone in four patients, and external fixation alone in two patients. The Short Form 36 scores were correlated with components possibly affecting outcome and compared with those of the general population. There was no correlation with residual radial height, radial tilt, or palmar tilt. No differences were observed between treatment or fracture groups. Intraarticular incongruence of 1 mm or greater correlated with a lower Short Form 36 score and with the development of arthrosis. Those injured while working were more than four times less likely to return to work than those injured while away from work. The Short Form 36 was found an effective and precise tool for measuring subjective patient information.

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