Comparing treatments

  Cast immobilisation Surgery

What can I expect?
Most fractures heal. The fracture usually heals. 

The final movement and strength are similar with either treatment. It’s best to avoid sports and heavy work for 3 months with either treatment.

A cast is worn for 6 to 10 weeks.

A splint is helpful for a few days to weeks.

You have a small scar on the top or bottom of your wrist.

What is the treatment?

Your arm is immobilized in a cast for 6-10 weeks.

A screw is used to keep the fracture from moving while it heals.

What is the advantage?

You avoid the risks of surgery.

You avoid a cast.

What is the disadvantage?

Immobilization can be a bit cumbersome and can cause skin problems.

It takes a little longer to regain wrist motion and strength.

The scar.

The risks, discomforts, and inconveniences of surgery.

The fixation might break or become loose or infected.

What are the risks?

If the fracture is out of place (misdiagnosis) it might not heal.

A second fall or injury could make the fracture worse.

Of 100 people that choose surgery, about 8 have a problem that needs more surgery.

About 11 out of 100 people develop arthritis where the screw is placed.