Comparison of angle stable plate fixation approaches for distal radius fractures. Injury

Klinik für Unfallchirurgie und Orthopädie, Berufsgenossenschaftliche Unfallklinik Ludwigshafen, Unfallchirurgische Klinik an der Universität Heidelberg, Ludwig-Guttmann Strasse 13, D-67071 Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Injury (Impact Factor: 2.14). 12/2010; 42(4):385-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2010.10.010
Source: PubMed


The aim of the study was to compare radiological and functional outcomes between volar and dorsal surgical fixation of distal radius fractures using low-profile, fixed-angle implants.
A total of 305 distal radius fracture patients were treated with Synthes locking compression plate (LCP) 2.4- or 3.5-mm fixation using either a volar (n=266) or dorsal (n=39) approach. The patients were examined at 6 months, 1 and 2 years for radiological assessment of fracture healing, alignment, reduction and arthritis, as well as the determination of various functional outcome scores.
Both groups were comparable with respect to baseline and injury characteristics. The complication rate was higher for the volar approach (15%). No significant differences were observed for Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) and Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) scores, pain, arthritis grade, grip strength and radiological measurements. However, a significantly better functional outcome represented by a low mean Gartland and Werley score was observed for the volar approach after 6 and 12 months. Significantly higher percentages of dorsal extension, palmar flexion, ulnar deviation and supination angle (relative to the mean contralateral healthy wrist) were also reported for volar approach patients at the 6-month follow-up.
Volar internal fixation of distal radius fractures with LCP DR implants can result in earlier and better functional outcome compared with the dorsal approach, yet is associated with a higher incidence of complications. After 2 years, these differences are no longer observed between the two surgical methods.

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Available from: Laurent Audigé
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    • "This is because of complications such as extensor tenosynovitis and tendon ruptures [11] [12]. The use of volar plates has seldom been associated with flexor tendon problems because the anatomy of the volar aspect of the wrist offers more cross-sectional area and the implant is separated from the tendons by the pronator quadratus [13]. There is a wide consensus among surgeons [14] [15] [16] regarding the importance of restoring preoperative radiographic parameters. "
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    ABSTRACT: Small variations within normal range of radiographic parameters, except ulnar variance and volar tilt, do not influence the final functional outcome in distal radius fractures. There are many reports in the literature on the relationship between radiographic variables and their influence on the final outcome of distal radius fractures. Most authors report that a good functional result depends on anatomical restoration of the articular surface and extra-articular alignment. The aim of this study was to verify if it is really necessary to restore anatomic radiographic parameters to obtain satisfactory functional outcome in distal radius fractures treated with volar plate. We retrospectively evaluated 51 patients treated with volar locked plate for articular unstable distal radius fractures from December 2006 to March 2009. Each fracture was evaluated according to the AO classification. The average follow-up was 40.5 months. Radiological measurements were performed considering radial height, radial inclination, volar tilt and ulnar variance, both preoperatively and postoperatively, to estimate the correction value. We examined range of motion (ROM), grip strength with a Jamar(®) dynamometer and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score. The τ Student test was performed for statistical analysis. The persistence of articular step-off was assessed in 35.3% of patients. Normal radial inclination (21-25°) was restored in 74.5% of patients (range 15-27.5°). Normal radial height (10-13mm) was restored in 66.6% of patients (range 6.8-17.3mm). Normal volar tilt (7-15°) was achieved in 90.2% of patients (range 3-17°). Normal ulnar variance (0.7-1.5mm) was restored in 86.3% of patients (range 0.7-4.1mm). There was a statistically significant difference between the preoperative and postoperative radiographic values (p<0.01). The majority of patients showed complete recovery of ROM, with no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) in extension, flexion, supination and pronation compared with the contralateral hand. Eight patients who had postoperative volar tilt and/or ulnar variance out of range had a statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in ROM compared with the non-operated side. At final follow-up, all patients had a statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in grip strength compared with the contralateral side, even with good strength values. The mean DASH score was 12.2 (range 0-61). Our experience suggests that ulnar variance and volar tilt are the most important radiographic parameters to be restored to obtain good functional outcome in distal radius fracture. Small variations of other radiographic parameters seem to not affect the final outcome at minimum 3 years' follow-up. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Injury
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    ABSTRACT: Articular comminuted distal radius fractures are still a surgical challenge. The development of volar locking plate device allows a stable and anatomic restoration of the distal radius. We propose a modification of the classic anterior approach for articular fracture of the distal radius with ulnar impaction. By a single incision, we realize 2 windows to expose the medial and lateral column of the distal radius. This technique is indicated for complex articular distal radius fractures associated with an ulnar comminution. The dissection is extended superficially to the ulnar side of the carpal tunnel elements by a blunt dissection of the anterior part of the wrist between the skin and the superficial layer of the flexor carpi radialis, in subcutaneous tissues and the antebrachial fascia to preserve the sensitive branch of the median nerve. This new approach allows reduction of each fragment of a comminutive articular fracture without exposing the flexor tendon and median nerve to excessive tension. In our surgical armatorium, we reserved this technique for distal radius fractures with articular ulnar damage because of the possible risk to the median cutaneus branch.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Techniques in hand & upper extremity surgery
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    ABSTRACT: In North America, the rate of nonoperative management of displaced distal radius fractures has declined as the rate of internal fixation has increased. Volar locking plate fixation has increased in popularity despite a lack of supportive level 1 evidence. Issues of cost-effectiveness are relevant because there is no best-practice treatment at this stage. Clinicians should be aware of the goals of treatment and challenges, particularly in managing elderly patients with distal radius fractures. Large, randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses may provide answers about when operative intervention is favored over nonoperative management and which operative intervention provides the best outcomes.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Hand clinics
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