MULTICENTER STUDY
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Condylar blade plate fixation of unstable fractures of the distal ulna associated with fracture of the distal radius.

PURPOSE: To review the results of condylar blade plate fixation of unstable fractures of the distal ulna associated with fracture of the distal radius.

METHODS: Twenty-four patients in whom a minicondylar blade plate was used to repair an unstable fracture of the distal ulna associated with a fracture of the distal radius were reviewed retrospectively an average of 26 months (range, 12-50 months) after injury. According to the Q modifier of the Comprehensive Classification of Fractures, there were 1 simple fracture of the ulnar neck (Q2), 20 comminuted fractures of the ulnar neck (Q3), and 3 fractures of the head and neck (Q5). Subsequent surgeries included repeat fixation and autogenous cancellous bone grafting in 2 patients with nonunion of the distal radius and 1 with nonunion of the distal ulna. Seven patients had a second operation to remove the ulnar plate secondary to discomfort from plate prominence.

RESULTS: The final average motion was as follows: degrees of flexion (range, 30 degrees-80 degrees), 52 degrees of extension (range, 40 degrees-90 degrees), 76 degrees of pronation (range, 45 degrees-90 degrees), and 70 degrees of supination (range, 45 degrees-90 degrees). Grip strength averaged 64% of the contralateral, uninjured extremity (range, 35%-100%). Final radiographic measurements included an average palmar tilt of the distal articular surface of the radius of 8 degrees (range, 0 degrees-20 degrees of palmar tilt), ulnar inclination of 21 degrees (range, 15 degrees-25 degrees), and ulnar positive variance of 1 mm (range, 0-4 mm). There were no problems related to the distal radioulnar joint. According to the system of Gartland and Werley as modified by Sarmiento, there were 6 excellent, 15 good, and 4 fair results at final evaluation.

CONCLUSION: For unstable fractures of the distal ulna associated with fracture of the distal radius, condylar blade plate fixation can achieve healing with good alignment, satisfactory function, and an acceptable rate of secondary surgery.

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