Radiologic evaluation of fracture healing.


Weill Cornell Medical College, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY, 10021, USA. [Email]


While assessment of fracture healing is a common task for both orthopedic surgeons and radiologists, it remains challenging due to a lack of consensus on imaging and clinical criteria as well as the lack of a true gold standard. Further complicating this evaluation are the wide variations between patients, specific fracture sites, and fracture patterns. Research into the mechanical properties of bone and the process of bone healing has helped to guide the evaluation of fracture union. Development of standardized scoring systems and identification of specific radiologic signs have further clarified the radiologist's role in this process. This article reviews these scoring systems and signs with regard to the biomechanical basis of fracture healing. We present the utility and limitations of current techniques used to assess fracture union as well as newer methods and potential future directions for this field.