Radiology Review

Construction Worker Falls From Scaffolding

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A 45-year-old construction worker is brought to your facility for evaluation following a fall. He was at a job site, standing on scaffolding approximately 20 feet above the ground, when he accidentally fell. He does not remember for sure, but he thinks he landed on his face. He did briefly lose consciousness. He is complaining of right-side facial pain and right wrist pain. His medical history is unremarkable. The physical exam reveals stable vital signs. The patient appears somewhat uncomfortable but is in no obvious distress. There is a moderate amount of periorbital soft-tissue swelling around his right eye, with moderate associated tenderness. Pupils are equal and react well bilaterally. Examination of the right wrist shows a moderate amount of soft-tissue swelling. The patient is unable to flex or extend his wrist due to pain. Good pulses and capillary refill of the nail beds are noted. There is also moderate tenderness along the base of the first metacarpal. Radiograph of the right wrist is shown. What is your impression?



The radiograph shows an acute, comminuted fracture of the scaphoid bone. The patient was placed in a thumb spica splint and sling. He was instructed to follow up in one to two days with the hand surgeon who was on call, with anticipation of subsequent open reduction and internal fixation.

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