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Incidence of traumatic long-bone fractures requiring inhospital management: a prospective age- and gender-specific analysis in 4,890 fractures


Musculoskeletal trauma represents a considerable global health burden, however reliable population-based incidence data are lacking. Thus, we prospectively investigated the age- and sex-specific incidence patterns of long-bone fractures in a defined population.


A 4-year prospective study of all long-bone fractures in a defined Norwegian population. Demographic data, fracture type and location, and mode of treatment were collected using recognized classification (e.g. AO/OTA; Gustilo-Anderson for open fractures). Age- and sex-adjusted incidences were calculated using population statistics.


During the study period 4,890 long-bone fractures were recorded. Overall incidence per 100,000/yr was 406 with 95% confidence interval (95%CI) of 395–417. The age-adjusted incidence <16 yrs (339; 95%CI 318–360) was lower than those ≥16 years (427; 95% CI: 414–440). Overall male incidence (337; 95%CI 322–355) was lower than female (476; 95%CI 459–493), but male:female ratio was 2:1 among those <50 years, and 1:3 in those ≥50 years. Upper limb fractures had an overall incidence of 159 (95%CI 152–166), whereas lower limb incidence was 247 (95%CI 238–256). Open fractures occurred in 3%, for an incidence of 13 (95%CI 11–15). Pediatric fractures were more often treated conservatively with only 8% requiring internal fixation, compared to 56% internal fixation in those ≥16 years. An increase in the use of angular stable plates occurred during the study period.


This prospectively collected study of long-bone fractures in a defined population recognizes age- and gender-specific fracture patterns. Boys predominate in young age for which treatment is basically conservative. In the senior population, women and operative treatment predominate.

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Correspondence to Terje Meling.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Meling, T., Harboe, K. & Søreide, K. Incidence of traumatic long-bone fractures requiring inhospital management: a prospective age- and gender-specific analysis in 4,890 fractures. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 17 (Suppl 3), O15 (2009).

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  • Internal Fixation
  • Open Fracture
  • Norwegian Population
  • Limb Fracture
  • Stable Plate