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Galeazzi Fracture Workup

  • Author: Janos P Ertl, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
 
Updated: Mar 11, 2016
 

Imaging Studies

The diagnosis of a Galeazzi fracture is confirmed on radiographic examination. Standard anteroposterior (AP) and true lateral forearm views are obtained, which must include an AP or a posteroanterior (PA) view, as well as a lateral view, of the wrist, along with AP and lateral views of the elbow. (See the image below.) Radiographs of the contralateral extremity can be obtained for comparison.

Anteroposterior radiograph demonstrates classic GaAnteroposterior radiograph demonstrates classic Galeazzi fracture: short oblique or transverse fracture of radius with associated dislocation of distal ulna. Dislocation results from disruption of distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ). Note prominence of distal ulna (ulna positive variance).

Plain radiographic findings suggestive of injury to the distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) are as follows:

  • Fracture at the ulnar styloid base
  • Widening of the DRUJ space on an AP radiograph
  • Dislocation of the radius relative to the ulna on a true lateral radiograph, which is obtained with the shoulder abducted 90°
  • Shortening of the radius by more than 5 mm relative to the distal ulna

Assessment of DRUJ integrity is often difficult with plain radiography alone. Bilateral axial computed tomography (CT) of the forearm is the preferred imaging study for diagnosing DRUJ disruption.

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Janos P Ertl, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine; Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Wishard Hospital; Chief, Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy, Indiana University School of Medicine

Janos P Ertl, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, Hungarian Medical Association of America, Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

William J Brackett, MD Research Assistant, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Michael Yaszemski, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Bioengineering, Mayo Foundation, Mayo Medical School

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Harris Gellman, MD Consulting Surgeon, Broward Hand Center; Voluntary Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Plastic Surgery, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Surgery, University of Miami, Leonard M Miller School of Medicine, Clinical Professor, Surgery, Nova Southeastern School of Medicine

Harris Gellman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Arkansas Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Peter M Murray, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; Director of Education, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jacksonville; Consultant, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville; Consulting Staff, Nemours Children's Clinic and Wolfson's Children's Hospital

Peter M Murray, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, Orthopaedic Research Society, Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association for Hand Surgery, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Florida Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
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Anteroposterior radiograph demonstrates classic Galeazzi fracture: short oblique or transverse fracture of radius with associated dislocation of distal ulna. Dislocation results from disruption of distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ). Note prominence of distal ulna (ulna positive variance).
 
 
 
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