Angle measurements of the distal radius: a cadaver study

P. G. Johnson, Robert M Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The quality of reduction of distal radius fractures is assessed mainly by degree of restoration of radial angle and palmar tilt. This cadaver study investigates the effects of forearm rotation of these measurements. A 5° rotational change produces a 1.6° change in palmar tilt on the conventional lateral view and a 1.0° change on the 15° lateral view. Lateral radiographs could be rotated 15°-30° and still be considered acceptable. Therefore, rotation may produce up to a 4.0° (15° lateral view) or 6.4° (conventional lateral view) change in measured palmar tilt. To provide clearer measuring landmarks and minimize error due to rotation, we recommend obtaining the 15° lateral view routinely in fractures with significant dorsal angulation. We also studied the interobserver variability of different surgeons assessing radial angle and palmar tilt. The mean standard deviation between surgeons was 3.2° for radial angle, 3.6° for conventional lateral palmar tilt, and 2.1° for 15° lateral palmar tilt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-246
Number of pages4
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1993


  • Distal radius fracture
  • Lateral wrist radiograph
  • Palmar tilt
  • Radial angle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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