- Intra-articular fracture of the distal radius with dislocation of the radiocarpal joint.
- Either the dorsal or ventral (anterior or posterior) aspect of the radiocarpal joint is fractured. The fracture involves the articular surface of the radius.
- Both the anterior and posterior marginal fracture dislocations of the distal radius are uncommon injuries. Both of which are termed Barton fracture in the current literature, however Barton’s original description delineates only the posterior marginal injury
- 1838 – John Rhea Barton described a ‘subluxation of the wrist consequent to a fracture through the articular surface of the carpal extremity of the radius.’
- 1943 – Lorenz Böhler reviewed 431 cases of fractures of the radius involving the wrist joint and found only 7 posterior and 11 anterior marginal fracture dislocations. The rarity of the posterior marginal fracture and the relatively more common occurrence of the anterior marginal fracture may account for some of the eponymous nomenclature confusion.
- 1977 – Thompson and Grant reviewed all distal forearm fractures at UCLA Hospital from 1972-1975. Ten anterior and five posterior marginal fractures were treated – constituting 2.3 per cent of all distal forearm fractures. [Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1977 Jan-Feb;(122):210-21]
- Barton fracture-dislocation
- Unstable Smith’s fracture
- In the original description, Barton discussed the posterior marginal fracture only.
- According to Barton’s original description, the term ‘Barton’s fracture‘ should be limited to those injuries involving the dorsal or posterior margins of the distal radius. [Although anterior marginal fractures were referred to, they were considered rare and did not provide the impetus for the description.]
- Barton, JR. Views and treatment of an important injury of the wrist. Medical Examiner. 1838 Vol 1:365–368.
- Thompson GH, Grant TT. Barton’s fractures-reverse Barton’s fractures. Confusing eponyms. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1977 Jan-Feb;(122):210-21 [PMID 837611]
- Jupiter JB, Fernandez DL. Comparative classification for fractures of the distal end of the radius. J Hand Surg Am. 1997 Jul;22(4):563-71. [PMID 9260608]
LITFL Related Links
- Biographical Medical Eponyms – A-Z of eponymous medical pioneers
- Eponymictionary – Searchable Eponymictionary Database
- Medical Eponyms – A-Z of signs, syndromes, diseases and classifications
- Orthopaedic Eponyms – Eponymous orthopedic fractures and classifications
- Cardiac Eponyms – Eponymous cardiology collection