The uncommon fracture of the distal radius originally described by Smith in 1847 has received surprisingly little attention. Apparently the hiatus in the literature extends from the time of Smith's essay to the contribution of F. Brian Thomas in 1957.7
Most standard textbooks of orthopedics1,8 indicate that the actual incidence of this fracture has not been accurately assessed. Thomas included 19 cases collected over a 3-year period. Some idea of how frequently the lesion is seen in a private orthopedic practice is provided by a recent tabulation of 20 years of fracture experience in a report by Emmett2 and associates in which there were 448 Colles' and only 23 Smith's fractures in instances where the distal end of the radius was involved. The latter represents less than 1% of a total of approximately 11,000 fractures seen by this group during this period. Annually, 1,800 to 2,000
FLANDREAU RH, SWEENEY RM, O'SULLIVAN WD. Clinical Experiences with a Series of Smith's Fractures. Arch Surg. 1962;84(3):288–291. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1962.01300210022005
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