Galeazzi fracture dislocation

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The Galeazzi fracture dislocation is:

  • a fracture of the lower radius, with
  • dislocation or subluxation of the distal radio-ulnar joint

The history is one of a fall on an outstretched hand, probably with an element of rotation. The condition may be regarded as a mirror image of a Monteggia fracture.

There is frequently tenderness and deformity. The lower end of the ulna stands out prominently on the back of the wrist.

It is important to restore the length of the fractured bone. The fracture is usually unstable and requires internal fixation. Radiographic confirmation of adequate reduction of the radio-ulnar joint is advisable. The arm should be immobilised in a cast for about 6 weeks.

It is important to exclude a Galeazzi fracture in a patient with a suspected Colles' fracture because a Galeazzi fracture must not be treated with a short forearm cast.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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