Volar fixed-angle plating of the distal radius

Dean W Smith, Mark H Henry
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2005, 13 (1): 28-36
The treatment of unstable distal radius fractures continues to improve as better methods of skeletal fixation and soft-tissue management are developed. Apart from closed reduction and percutaneous pinning of simpler fracture patterns, the three main methods of management are external fixation, dorsal plating, and volar fixed-angle plating. Specific advantages of volar fixed-angle plating include stable fixed-angle support that permits early active wrist rehabilitation, direct fracture reduction, and fewer soft-tissue and tendon problems. Volar fixed-angle plating also avoids the complications often associated with external fixation and dorsal plating. Biomechanical data indicate that, when loaded to failure, volar fixed-angle plates have significant strength advantages over dorsal plating. Volar fixed-angle plating is advantageous in elderly osteopenic patients and for high-energy comminuted fractures and malunions requiring osteotomy.

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