AO type-C distal radius fractures: the influence of computed tomography on surgeon's decision-making
- J. J. Hunt MBBS; W. Lumsdaine BMed; J. Attia MD, PhD, FRACP; Z. J. Balogh MD, PhD, FRACS.
Professor Zsolt J. Balogh, Department of Traumatology, John Hunter Hospital and University of Newcastle, Locked Bag 1, Hunter Region Mail Centre, Newcastle, NSW 2310, Australia. Email: email@example.com
Computed tomography (CT) has become a widely accepted adjunct imaging tool in the preoperative evaluation of complex intra-articular distal radius fractures. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of CT scanning compared with plain X-rays on the choice of intervention in complex distal radius fractures.
Five orthopaedic surgeons were given the de-identified plain films (AP, lateral and oblique) of 20 closed complex intra-articular distal radius fractures (AO23-C), randomly selected from our institution's prospectively maintained fracture database. Each surgeon individually selected a management option for each patient from a series of five interventions, ranked in increasing level of invasiveness. The same patients' CT scans (in randomized order) were blindly reviewed after a 1-week interval by the same clinicians with the same management options again offered. Kappa statistic was used to measure the intra-observer agreement between X-ray and CT decisions, and inter-observer agreement within each modality.
The intra-observer agreement on management between X-rays alone versus CT scan was poor, with an average kappa score of 0.038. Inter-observer agreement based on X-ray alone was higher than that based on CT alone. Regression analysis indicated a trend towards a slightly higher level of invasiveness when the management decision was based on the CT compared with plain X-rays.
There is a very poor intra- and inter-rater agreement between decision-making based on X-ray and on CT. Decision-making based on CT could increase the level of invasiveness in the surgical management of complex distal radius fractures.