Deakin University
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Interobserver reliability of radial head fracture classification : two-dimensional compared with three-dimensional CT

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-11-02, 00:00 authored by T Guitton, D Ring, Richard PageRichard Page, Science of Variation Group
Background: The Broberg and Morrey modification of the Mason classification of radial head fractures has substantial interobserver variation. This study used a large web-based collaborative of experienced orthopaedic surgeons to test the hypothesis that three-dimensional reconstructions of computed tomography (CT) scans improve the interobserver reliability of the classification of radial head fractures according to the Broberg and Morrey modification of the Mason classification.

Methods: Eighty-five orthopaedic surgeons evaluated twelve radial head fractures. They were randomly assigned to review either radiographs and two-dimensional CT scans or radiographs and three-dimensional CT images to determine the fracture classification, fracture characteristics, and treatment recommendations. The kappa multirater measure (κ) was calculated to estimate agreement between observers.

Results: Three-dimensional CT had moderate agreement and two-dimensional CT had fair agreement among observers for the Broberg and Morrey modification of the Mason classification, a difference that was significant. Observers assessed seven fracture characteristics, including fracture line, comminution, articular surface involvement, articular step or gap of ≥2 mm, central impaction, recognition of more than three fracture fragments, and fracture fragments too small to repair. There was a significant difference in kappa values between three-dimensional CT and two-dimensional CT for fracture fragments too small to repair, recognition of three fracture fragments, and central impaction. The difference between the other four fracture characteristics was not significant. Among treatment recommendations, there was fair agreement for both three-dimensional CT and two-dimensional CT.

Conclusions: Although three-dimensional CT led to some small but significant decreases in interobserver variation, there is still considerable disagreement regarding classification and characterization of radial head fractures. Three-dimensional CT may be insufficient to optimize interobserver agreement.



Journal of bone and joint surgery




2015 - 2021


Needham, Mass.

Open access

  • Yes







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C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2011, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery


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