Niels Lauge-Hansen

Niels Lauge-Hansen (1899 – 1976)

Niels Lauge-Hansen (1899 – 1976) was a Danish Radiologist.

Lauge-Hansen (published as Lauge N.) wrote a definitive review of ankle fractures – ‘an analytic historic survey as the basis of new experimental, roentgenologic and clinical investigations‘ 2 years before his classification publication. [Arch Surg. 1948 Mar;56(3):259-317.]

Lauge-Hansen’s research was ground-breaking at its time of publication: Injury spectrum provides clinicians with high index of suspicion for easily missed additional injuries on radiographs; radiographic findings allowed surgeons to predict concurrent soft tissue injuries; and provided basis of closed fracture reduction and immobilisation in an era predation modern surgical fixation

Eponymously linked with the Lauge-Hansen classification of ankle fractures

  • Born 1899
  • Worked primarily at the Central Hospital, Randers, Denmark.
  • 1942 – published his thesis ‘Genetisk Diagnose og Reposition
  • 1948 – published ‘Ankle fractures 1: the analytical historical survey’, providing a history of ankle fracture management since Hippocrates, forming the basis of his work.
  • 1950 – used fresh cadaveric lower limb amputations, fixed with a vice and nails, to observe a spectrum of ankle injuries. These were demonstrated in force produced by hand to the hindfoot, and formed the basis of his publication ‘Ankle fractures 2: the combined experimental-surgical and experimental roentgenologic investigation’.
  • 1952 – described how to perform closed ankle fracture reduction, based on reversal of injury mechanism, published in ‘Ankle fractures 4: clinical use of genetic roentgenologic diagnosis and genetic reduction’.
  • 1954 – applied previous work to describe his radiographic classification and effect of rotational ankle force on interosseous clear space and mortise, publishing ‘Ankle fractures 3: the genetic roentgenologic diagnosis of fractures of the ankle’.
  • 1959-1961 Worked in Seoul (South Korea), honorary member of the Korean Radiology Association
  • Died in 1976.

Medical Eponyms
Lauge-Hansen classification of ankle fractures (1950)

Appreciation of ankle injury mechanism furthers understanding of likely associated ligamentous injury, implications of joint stability and management. The Lauge-Hansen classification requires three radiographic views of the ankle (anteroposterior, mortise and lateral) and is characterised with specific two-word descriptors of the injury mechanism:

  • First word: describes the position of the foot at the time of injury (supination or pronation)
  • Second word: describes the deforming force direction (abduction, adduction, or external rotation)

Lauge-Hansen’s classification can be difficult to remember and best reviewed in comparison to the simplified Danis-Weber classification. Awareness of the injury mechanism, enhances interpretation and identification of subtle Lauge-Hansen injury stages.


Recent research using up to date experimental techniques, has failed to consistently reproduce Lauge-Hansen’s initial findings, questioning the reliability of his classification system. However, the value of his classification when considering concurrent soft tissue injuries, alongside fractures, remains in high regard.

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Dr Josh Howard - wannabe future orthopod, finding myself in Australia | LinkedIn

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