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Childhood Obesity Linked to More Broken Wrists

Update Date: Mar 14, 2014 06:27 PM EDT
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Obese children are more likely to suffer broken wrists, according to a new study.

Researchers found that obesity increases the likelihood of distal radius fracture, or a bone break near the wrist, in children. The study also reveals that obese children are more likely to suffer complications related to the healing of broken bones.

The latest study involved 157 patients with distal radius fractures who received emergency department and/or surgical treatment. After examining the records and outcomes of the patients, who were treated at a large urban pediatric practice between January 2011 and June 2012, researchers found that obese children were significantly more likely to require a second surgical procedure to reposition their fractured bones. They were also more likely to need more follow-up visits requiring X-rays or other images and were significantly less likely to have an initial, successful bone repositioning in the emergency room.

The study revealed that all patients were initially treated with fiberglass casting, and tracked until their bone break healed. The study determined and analyzed each patient's age, weight, height and number of office visits, subsequent surgeries and the type/angle of the fracture. Study results revealed that 42 percent of the children were diagnosed as overweight, with a Body Mass Index greater than the 85th percentile, and 29 percent as obese, with a Body Mass Index greater than the 95th percentile.

Researchers said that a total of 27 children needed repeat reduction. The findings show that 12 percent of children of normal weight required the second procedure, whereas 28 percent of obese children needed repeat reduction. Obesity also significantly increased the number of follow-up visits and decreased the success rate of bone repositioning in the emergency room.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that obese children should be followed early and closely. The findings also suggest that surgically pinning their fractures may speed up the bone-healing process.

The study "Childhood Obesity Increases the Risk of Failure in the Treatment of Distal Forearm Fracture," was presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

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