Difference Between Galeazzi Fracture and Monteggia

Orthopedic injuries can be complex and require precise diagnosis and treatment strategies. Among the various types of fractures, Galeazzi and Monteggia fractures are significant. Both fractures involve the forearm but differ in the bones affected and the associated injuries.A Galeazzi fracture typically results from a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm in a pronated position whereas,Monteggia fracture usually occurs due to a direct blow to the forearm or a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm in hyperpronation.

Comparative Table

Below is the difference between Galeazzi Fracture and Monteggia Fracture in the tabular format:

Aspect Galeazzi Fracture Monteggia Fracture
Bones Involved Distal third of the radius, DRUJ Proximal third of the ulna, radial head
Mechanism of Injury Fall on an outstretched hand (pronation) Direct blow or fall on outstretched hand
Clinical Presentation Pain, swelling, deformity at DRUJ Pain, swelling, deformity at elbow
Diagnostic Imaging X-rays (AP and lateral), CT/MRI X-rays (AP and lateral), CT
Treatment ORIF of radius, stabilization of DRUJ ORIF of ulna, reduction of radial head
Complications DRUJ instability, malunion, nerve injury Radial nerve injury, elbow stiffness
Prognosis Good with surgery, early mobilization Good with early intervention

What is Galeazzi Fracture?

A Galeazzi fracture is a break in the distal third of the radius bone, along with a dislocation of the distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ). The fracture is named after Riccardo Galeazzi, who published a series of cases in 1934.It is also known as a fracture of necessity due to its requirement for surgical intervention to restore normal arm function.The typical mechanism for a Galeazzi fracture is a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm pronated. This force causes the radius to fracture and the DRUJ to dislocate or subluxate.


Patients typically present with

  •  pain, swelling, and deformity in the distal forearm
  • They may also have difficulty with wrist movement 
  •  A visible prominence at the DRUJ.
  • Tenderness over the distal radius and DRUJ
  •  Limited wrist range of motion, and possible numbness or weakness. 


  • X-rays: Anteroposterior (AP) and lateral views of the forearm are essential. The radius fracture and DRUJ dislocation are typically visible.
  • Additional Imaging: CT or MRI may be required for detailed assessment of the DRUJ and associated soft tissue injuries.

Treatment Approaches

  • Non-Surgical: Rarely indicated, except in cases where surgical intervention is contraindicated. This involves immobilization in a cast.
  • Surgical: Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of the radius fracture, followed by stabilization of the DRUJ, often with K-wires or screws.


  • DRUJ Instability: Persistent instability or subluxation despite treatment.
  • Malunion/Nonunion: Improper healing of the radius fracture.
  • Nerve Injury: Particularly the median nerve, leading to numbness or weakness.


With appropriate surgical intervention, most patients achieve good functional outcomes. Early mobilization and physical therapy are crucial for optimal recovery.

What is Monteggia Fracture?

A Monteggia fracture is characterized by a fracture of the proximal third of the ulna with dislocation of the radial head at the elbow. It was first described by Italian surgeon Giovanni Battista Monteggia . This fracture is less common but equally significant due to its potential for neurovascular complications and elbow instability.Monteggia fractures often occur due to a direct blow to the forearm or a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm in hyperpronation. The force impacts the proximal ulna, causing it to fracture and displacing the radial head from its normal position.


  • Patients usually present with pain and swelling in the elbow and forearm. 
  • There may be an obvious deformity at the elbow 
  • Difficulty with forearm rotation.
  • Tenderness along the ulna,
  • Instability or dislocation of the radial head, and potential neurovascular deficits, 


  • X-rays: AP and lateral views of the forearm and elbow are necessary. The proximal ulna fracture and radial head dislocation are usually evident.
  • Additional Imaging: CT scans can provide more detailed information about the fracture and dislocation, especially in complex cases.

Treatment Approaches

  • Non-Surgical: May be considered in pediatric patients with minimal displacement. Treatment includes closed reduction and casting.
  • Surgical: ORIF of the ulna fracture and reduction of the radial head dislocation. The ulna is stabilized with plates and screws, and the radial head is assessed for stability.


  • Radial Nerve Injury: Due to the proximity of the radial nerve to the radial head.
  • Elbow Stiffness: Limited range of motion post-treatment.
  • Nonunion/Malunion: Improper healing of the ulna fracture.


The prognosis depends on the promptness of diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention usually results in good outcomes, but delayed treatment can lead to poor functional recovery and chronic instability.

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What causes a Galeazzi fracture?

Galeazzi fracture typically results from a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm in a pronounced position.

How does a Monteggia fracture occur?

Monteggia fracture usually occurs due to a direct blow to the forearm or a fall on an outstretched hand with the forearm in hyperpronation.

How are Galeazzi fractures diagnosed?

Diagnosis is primarily through X-rays (AP and lateral views) of the forearm. Additional imaging like CT or MRI may be needed for detailed assessment.

What imaging is required to diagnose a Monteggia fracture?

X-rays (AP and lateral views) of the forearm and elbow are essential. CT scans may be used for more detailed information in complex cases.

What is the prognosis for patients with a Galeazzi fracture?

With appropriate surgical intervention and early mobilization, most patients achieve good functional outcomes.