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Scaphoid fractures are commonly seen fractures following distal radius fractures, yet its diagnosis can be difficult. The present study is to explore the diagnostic approach to suspected scaphoid fractures in a district general hospital in the UK.

This is a retrospective study. 286 Suspected scaphoid injuries were seen in our Fracture clinics. 184/286 were known to have normal x-ray findings initially and repeat x-ray in 10 days time. They were all treated as a simple case of a sprained wrist. 40 Patients out of the remaining 102 patients were noted to have scaphoid fractures on follow up x-rays and accordingly treated with cast. The remaining 62 patients were considered for further imaging. 28/102 went for bone scan, which confirmed scaphoid fracture in 4/28 cases. It also picked up other degenerative pathology in 4/28 cases. The rest of the scans were normal. 22/102 Were sent for CT scan which identified the fracture in 20 cases. CT scans provided details about the configuration of fracture, level of healing etc. MRI was performed in 12/102 cases, which confirmed fracture in 2/12 cases and bone bruising in 2/12 cases.

There is no consensus regarding the investigation of choice when a follow up scaphoid x-ray is inconclusive in diagnosing a possible scaphoid fracture. In this study we note that a bone scan does not offer much information. On the other hand MRI and CT investigations were useful. We recommend the use of an MRI investigation for a fresh injury, and a CT scan for fresh and old injuries.

Correspondence should be addressed to: Léana Fourie, CEO SAOA, PO Box 12918, Brandhof 9324 South Africa.