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ABSTRACT To evaluate the long-term results of external fixation of distal radius fractures.
A retrospective follow-up study (median follow-up, 5.3 years) of 49 patients with 50 distal radius fractures treated with an external fixator was carried out. An external fixator (Minifixator, Stratec Medical, Waldenburg, Switzerland) was used. The operative procedure is described in detail. A personal evaluation including clinical and radiologic assessment of both wrists was performed.
The functional results, including the parameters strength, daily activities, range of motion, and presence of pain, as well as an anatomic score, the presence of osteoarthritis, the quality of reduction, and complications were recorded. Functional and anatomic results indicated excellent to good ratings in more than 80% of the cases.
The external fixator is a versatile tool in the treatment of intra-articular and extra-articular fractures of the distal radius. The rate of algodystrophy (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) was 6%, and wrist stiffness was not found in our series.