Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA) and Kirschner wire (K-wire) fixation of displaced, paediatric distal radius fractures on residual radiological angulation, displacement, and shortening, as well as functional outcomes, including complication rates. A retrospective review was conducted of all paediatric patients undergoing MUA and K-wire fixation for an extra-articular distal radius fracture over a period of 5 years. A total of 248 patients were included in the study with a mean age of 9.9 years (3-15). Mean follow-up was 6.6 weeks (4-156). There was a statistically significant increase in median dorsal angulation (p<0.0001) between initial post-operative and follow-up radiographs at the time of K-wire removal. The number of K-wires used did not have a significant effect on dorsal angulation (p=0.9015) at time of K-wire removal, nor did the use of an above or below elbow cast (p=0.3883). Seventeen patients required a further general anaesthetic (5 revision operations, 12 removal of migrated K-wires). Eighty-seven percentage of (215 patients) of patients had normal function at follow-up post-K-wire removal. Angulation at time of K-wire removal of more than 15° was significantly associated with reduced functional outcome (p=0.0377). A total of 41 patients (17%) had complications associated with K-wire use. We conclude that though K-wire fixation is an effective technique, it does not prevent re-angulation of the fracture and is associated with a significant complication rate. Given the remodelling potential and tolerance to deformity in children, surgeons should give careful thought before utilising this technique for all displaced or angulated paediatric distal radius fractures. If used, 1 K-wire with immobilisation in a below elbow cast is sufficient in most cases.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur j orthop surg traumatol

Publication Date





471 - 476


Adolescent, Anesthesia, General, Bone Wires, Casts, Surgical, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Humans, Male, Manipulation, Orthopedic, Radiography, Radius Fractures, Recovery of Function, Reoperation, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome