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Fractures of the forearm resulting from low-velocity gunshot wounds

Fractures of the forearm resulting from low-velocity gunshot wounds

Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma 6(1): 32-35

ISSN/ISBN: 0890-5339

PMID: 1556621

Thirty-seven extraarticular fractures of the forearm resulting from low-velocity gunshot injuries were treated by cast immobilization or open reduction and internal fixation with dynamic compression plates. All patients received 72 h of intravenous antibiotics. There were 14 isolated ulna fractures, 17 isolated radius fractures, and six both-bone (radius and ulna) fractures. Cast immobilization was used in 22 of 23 nondisplaced or minimally displaced fractures and eight of 14 displaced fractures. The remaining seven fractures were treated by open reduction and internal fixation. All fractures united within 16 weeks of injury regardless of the method of treatment. Poor clinical results related to the fracture occurred in six patients, five of whom were treated by cast immobilization. Fourteen patients had nerve palsies; eight resolved spontaneously and six had permanent neurologic deficits. There were two compartment syndromes and one ulnar artery transection. There were no infections. We conclude that displaced fractures of the radius, and both bone fractures, are best treated by open reduction and internal fixation. All patients should be closely monitored for 24 h for compartment syndrome, regardless of the fracture type or pattern. Early dynamic splinting is important when associated nerve injuries are present.

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Accession: 040169458

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