RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Plate osteosynthesis versus intramedullary nailing for both forearm bones fractures.

PURPOSE: Given the continuing improvements in nail implants, intramedullary nailing could become an alternative treatment option to osteosynthesis for the treatment of fractures in both forearm bones, with the proper indication. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate and compare the results of plate osteosynthesis and intramedullary nailing for the treatment of diaphyseal fractures in both forearm bones.

METHODS: Sixty-seven patients (mean age, 41 years; range, 22-76 years) of this prospective study were divided into two groups according to treatment randomly: ORIF group (plate osteosynthesis) and IMN group (intramedullary nail). The results were assessed on the basis of the time to union, functional recovery (range of motion and functional outcomes [Grace and Eversmann rating system and DASH]), restoration of the ulna and the radial bow, operating time, exposure time to fluoroscopy, complications, and patient satisfaction. The ratio of the magnitude of the maximum radial bow on the injured side to that on the contralateral side (i.e., "the ratio of the contralateral side") was determined to evaluate the effectiveness of radial bow restoration between groups.

RESULTS: The time to union and the exposure time to fluoroscopy were significantly shorter in ORIF group than in IMN group. The presence of butterfly segment and severe displacement were factors leading to the increase in the time of union in IMN group. No intergroup differences were observed in the restoration and magnitude of the maximum radial bow on the injured side. However, ORIF group showed a significantly improved ratio of the contralateral side compared to IMN group. In terms of the location of maximum radial bow and ratio of the contralateral side, significant differences were found between groups. The functional outcomes did not significantly differ between the two groups, irrespective of the time of assessment. All patients achieved union in both groups, with the exception of a single case of nonunion in IMN group and one case of refracture after implant removal in ORIF group.

CONCLUSION: Based on the significant differences in the ratio of the contralateral side, plate osteosynthesis resulted in a more excellent extent of restoration to the conditions prior to the injury. Nevertheless, such significant differences in the restoration of the bow had no effect on the final clinical outcome. If the indication is properly selected, our results suggested intramedullary nailing can be acceptable and effective treatment options for fractures in both forearm bones.

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