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AIMS: The evidence demonstrating the superiority of early MRI has led to increased use of MRI in clinical pathways for acute wrist trauma. The aim of this study was to describe the radiological characteristics and the inter-observer reliability of a new MRI based classification system for scaphoid injuries in a consecutive series of patients. METHODS: We identified 80 consecutive patients with acute scaphoid injuries at one centre who had presented within four weeks of injury. The radiographs and MRI scans were assessed by four observers, two radiologists, and two hand surgeons, using both pre-existing classifications and a new MRI based classification tool, the Oxford Scaphoid MRI Assessment Rating Tool (OxSMART). The OxSMART was used to categorize scaphoid injuries into three grades: contusion (grade 1); unicortical fracture (grade 2); and complete bicortical fracture (grade 3). RESULTS: In total there were 13 grade 1 injuries, 11 grade 2 injuries, and 56 grade 3 injuries in the 80 consecutive patients. The inter-observer reliability of the OxSMART was substantial (Kappa = 0.711). The inter-observer reliability of detecting an obvious fracture was moderate for radiographs (Kappa = 0.436) and MRI (Kappa = 0.543). Only 52% (29 of 56) of the grade 3 injuries were detected on plain radiographs. There were two complications of delayed union, both of which occurred in patients with grade 3 injuries, who were promptly treated with cast immobilization. There were no complications in the patients with grade 1 and 2 injuries and the majority of these patients were treated with early mobilization as pain allowed. CONCLUSION: This MRI based classification tool, the OxSMART, is reliable and clinically useful in managing patients with acute scaphoid injuries.Cite this article: Bone Jt Open 2022;3(11):913-920.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone jt open

Publication Date





913 - 920


Classification, Fracture, Injury, MRI, MRI scans, Scaphoid, cast immobilization, contusion, delayed union, hand surgeons, orthopaedic trauma, plain radiographs, radiographs, scaphoid fractures, wrist