Distal Radius, Scaphoid (Wrist Fractures)

Broken wrists often consist of a distal radius and/or scaphoid fracture. A distal radius fracture involves a break in the radius, which is the larger of the two bones in your forearm. The scaphoid is a small bone in your wrist, and its location makes it more prone to an injury or break than the other small wrist bones. Some broken wrists require only a cast or sprint; other fractures, however, are severe enough to require surgery.

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Provider List

2900 12th Avenue North #140W & #100E
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 237-5050

When Procedure is Used

If a wrist fracture is severe enough that there are multiple broken bones, pieces of bone or ligaments out of place, or if there has been damage to nerves or blood vessels, you are more likely to need surgery. Surgery gives your doctor an opportunity to put the bones back into position, to stabilize the area, and, if necessary, to use pins, screws, or other hardware to make sure everything heals properly.

During Surgery

You will most likely be given a general anesthesia to make sure you relax your muscles and to prevent pain and help you fall asleep. Your surgeon will make incisions according to the severity of the break and what will need to be done to stabilize your wrist. After cleaning up tissue and assessing the break with an intraoperative x-ray, your surgeon will place the bones and secure them with hardware if necessary. Following surgery, you will have a dressing and will likely also have a cast/splint.


The risk of complications is very low. However, potential risks might include

  • allergic reactions to medications
  • nerve damage
  • bleeding or blood clots
  • infection
  • injury to surrounding tissues
  • numbness


  • improved alignment of broken bones
  • greater stability in the wrist during healing

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