JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Use of the radial groove view intra-operatively to prevent damage to the extensor pollicis longus tendon by protruding screws during volar plating of a distal radial fracture.

The aims of this study were to assess the efficacy of a newly designed radiological technique (the radial groove view) for the detection of protrusion of screws in the groove for the extensor pollicis longus tendon (EPL) during plating of distal radial fractures. We also aimed to determine the optimum position of the forearm to obtain this view. We initially analysed the anatomy of the EPL groove by performing three-dimensional CT on 51 normal forearms. The mean horizontal angle of the groove was 17.8° (14° to 23°). We found that the ideal position of the fluoroscopic beam to obtain this view was 20° in the horizontal plane and 5° in the sagittal plane. We then intra-operatively assessed the use of the radial groove view for detecting protrusion of screws in the EPL groove in 93 fractures that were treated by volar plating. A total of 13 protruding screws were detected. They were changed to shorter screws and these patients underwent CT scans of the wrist immediately post-operatively. There remained one screw that was protruding. These findings suggest that the use of the radial groove view intra-operatively is a good method of assessing the possible protrusion of screws into the groove of EPL when plating a fracture of the distal radius.

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