Analysis of the Complications of Palmar Plating Versus Extern It Fixation for Fractures of the Distal Radius

Duke University Medical Center, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, DUMC 3466, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
The Journal of hand surgery (Impact Factor: 1.67). 08/2011; 36(10):1614-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2011.06.030
Source: PubMed


To evaluate whether there was a difference in complication rates in our patients treated with external fixation versus volar plating of distal radius fractures. We also looked for a difference in radiographic results; in the clinical outcomes of flexion, extension, supination, pronation, and grip strength; and in scores on the visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire.
We reviewed 115 patients with comminuted intrarticular distal radius fractures. Of those patients, 59 were treated with external fixation and 56 with volar plate fixation. Postoperative radiographs, range of motion, and grip strength were measured; DASH and VAS pain questionnaires were administered; and complications were documented.
The external fixation group had a significantly higher overall complication rate. In the volar plate group, there were more tendon and median nerve complications, but this difference was not significant. Radiographically, the external fixator group demonstrated radial shortening of 0.7 mm, whereas the volar plate group demonstrated 0.3 mm of radial shortening during the postoperative period. There were no significant differences between the groups in the measurement of scapholunate angle or palmar tilt. The mean DASH score at final follow-up was 32 in the external fixation group and 17 in the volar plate group, which was statistically significant. The final VAS scores were statistically different at 3.1 for the external fixation group and 1.1 for the volar plate group. On physical examination, the volar plate group had significantly better arc of motion in pronation-supination and flexion-extension and better grip strength.
In the patients we studied, volar plate fixation has an overall decreased incidence of complications and significantly better motion in flexion-extension and supination-pronation compared to external fixation. Volar plate fixation also has less radial shortening than the external fixation group, yet the absolute difference in magnitude of ulnar variance was only 1.4 mm, calling into question the clinical significance of this difference. Patients with volar plating also have better pain and functional outcomes and better grip strength.
Therapeutic III.

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    • "A retrospective study of 115 patients with comminuted intra-articular distal radius fractures was performed by Richards et al. who compared radiographic and clinical outcomes of patients treated with external fixation to those treated with volar plate internal fixation [10]. They reported fewer complications, better range of movement, pain and functional scores in the ORIF group. "
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    ABSTRACT: Distal radius fractures are among the most common fractures seen in the hospital emergency department. Of these, over 40% are considered unstable and require some form of fixation. In recent years with the advent of low profile plating, open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) using volar plates has become the surgical treatment of choice in many hospitals. However, it is currently unknown which plating system has the lowest complication rate and/or superior clinical and radiological outcomes following surgery. Few studies have compared different types of plates, which may have various features, different plate and screw designs or may be manufactured from different materials (for example, stainless steel or titanium). This study will specifically investigate and compare the clinical and radiological outcomes and complication rates of two commonly used volar plating systems for fixation of distal radius fractures: one made from stainless steel (TrimedTM Volar Plate, TrimedTM, California, USA) and the other made from titanium (Medartis(R) Aptus Volar Plate, Medartis(R), Basel, Switzerland). The primary aim of this study is to determine if there is a difference on the Patient Reported Wrist Evaluation six months following ORIF using a volar plate for adult patients with a distal radius fracture.Methods/design: This study will implement a randomized prospective clinical trial study design evaluating the outcomes of two different types of volar plates: one plate manufactured from stainless steel (TrimedTM Volar Plate) and one plate manufactured from titanium (Medartis(R) Aptus Volar Plate). The surgery will be performed at a major trauma hospital in Brisbane, Australia. Outcome measures including function, adverse events, range of movement, strength, disability, radiological findings and health-related quality of life will be collected at 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months following surgery. A parallel economic analysis will also be performed. This randomized clinical trial is due to deliver results in December 2016. Results from this trial will contribute to the evidence on operative management of distal radius fractures and plate material type.Trial registration: ACTRN12612000969864.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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    • "A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review [19] of the literature on surgical procedures for the treatment of distal radius fractures analyzed 48 randomized studies comparing different methods of surgical treatment, and it was concluded that insufficient scientific information was available to determine which surgical treatment method was best for this type of fracture. Regarding complications, some studies report a considerable incidence of complications with the use of VP [16], while other studies indicate greater complications with the EF method [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Various treatments are available for reducible unstable fractures of the distal radius, such as closed reduction combined with fixation by external fixator (EF), and rigid internal fixation using a locked volar plate (VP). Although there are studies comparing these methods, there is no conclusive evidence indicating which treatment is best. The hypothesis of this study is that surgical treatment with a VP is more effective than EF from the standpoint of functional outcome (patient-reported).Methods/design: The study is randomized clinical trial with parallel groups and a blinded evaluator and involves the surgical interventions EF and VP. Patients will be randomly assigned (assignment ratio 1:1) using sealed opaque envelopes. This trial will include consecutive adult patients with an acute (up to 15 days) displaced, unstable fracture of the distal end of the radius of type A2, A3, C1, C2 or C3 by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Osteosynthesefragen-Association for the Study of Internal Fixation classification and type II or type III by the IDEAL32 classification, without previous surgical treatments of the wrist. The surgical intervention assigned will be performed by three surgical specialists familiar with the techniques described. Evaluations will be performed at 2, and 8 weeks, 3, 6 and 12 months, with the primary outcomes being measured by the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire and measurement of pain (Visual Analog Pain Scale and digital algometer). Secondary outcomes will include radiographic parameters, objective functional evaluation (goniometry and dynamometry), and the rate of complications and method failure according to the intention-to-treat principle. Final postoperative evaluations (6 and 12 months) will be performed by independent blinded evaluators. For the Student's t-test, a difference of 10 points in the DASH score, with a 95% confidence interval, a statistical power of 80%, and 20% sampling error results in 36 patients per group. Results from this study protocol will improve the current evidence regarding to the surgical treatment these fractures.Trial registration: ISCRTN09599740.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: There has been a surge in the operative management of distal radius fractures. Closed reduction, external fixation, and open reduction with internal fixation each have advantages and disadvantages. The purpose of this review is not to provide the clinician with an algorithm for treatment of distal radius fractures. These fractures span an extensive spectrum of severity across age groups and demographics. Fortunately, the surgeon holds a vast array of options to provide care for patients with distal radius fractures. The choice of fixation or conservative care resides in the personality of the fracture and the needs of the patients.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Hand clinics
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