[Comparison between fixation with dorsal T plate and palmar locking plate in the treatment of unstable displaced distal radius fractures]

Ufuk Nalbantoğlu, Arel Gereli, Yavuz Uçar, Metin Türkmen
Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 2008, 42 (5): 365-72

OBJECTIVES: We compared the results of fixation with dorsal T plate and palmar locking plate in the treatment of unstable displaced distal radius fractures.

METHODS: Sixty-three patients (64 radii) with distal radius fractures were treated with dorsal T plate (n=41) or palmar locking plate (n=23). The mean age was 46+/-14 years (range 21 to 82 years) in the dorsal and 47+/-14 years (range 18 to 69 years) in the palmar plate groups. The fractures were classified according to the AO/ASIF system. Objective and subjective functional assessments were made using the Gartland-Werley and Quick-DASH scales, respectively. The mean follow-up was 78+/-19 months (range 12 to 101 months) and 18+/-5 months (range 12 to 28 months) with dorsal and palmar plating, respectively.

RESULTS: The mean Gartland-Werley and Quick-DASH scores were 2.3+/-2.1 (range 0 to 9) and 2.0+/-2.2 (range 0 to 9) with dorsal plating, and 2.0+/-2.1 (range 0 to 6) and 1.9+/-2.7 (range 0 to 9) with palmar plating, respectively. The two groups did not differ with respect to the Gartland-Werley and Quick-DASH scores (p>0.05). Time to return to work or daily activities was also similar (1.9+/-0.3 months vs 1.8+/-0.4 months). However, patients treated with dorsal plating exhibited significantly greater values in the following parameters measured on early and late postoperative radiograms: loss of palmar tilt (p=0.001), radial height (p=0.001), radial inclination (p=0.049), and change in ulnar variance (p=0.049). Moreover, complications were seen in eight patients (19.5%) with dorsal plating, whereas no complications occurred with palmar locking plate (p=0.024).

CONCLUSION: Although the two fixation methods do not differ with respect to functional results, palmar locking plating seems to provide a more rigid fixation resulting in significantly reduced collapse and a very low complication rate.

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