Orthopedic surgeons have so many names for fractures, it gets confusing! Today, let’s dig in to the “Galeazzi fracture.” This one was named for an Italian surgeon during the early 20th century) although it was actually first described by an Englishman named Cooper a hundred years earlier).
The Galeazzi fracture is an uncommon one, and consists of two components: a radius fracture at the junction of the distal and middle thirds, and a dislocation of the distal radio-ulnar joint. Here’s what it looks like:
Notice the obvious dislocation seen in the lateral view. Of course, a whole classification system has been developed to describe the various nuances of this fracture pattern, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.
What to do about it? This one needs prompt orthopedic consultation, and due to the dislocation component it requires operative management in adults. In children, initial closed reduction is the treatment of choice.
Monday, I’ll describe this fracture’s evil twin, The Monteggia fracture.