Do we really need to repair the pronator quadratus after distal radius plating?

Subodh Pathak, Rashid Anjum, Rakesh Kumar Gautam, Pritam Maheshwari, Jatin Aggarwal, Aryan Sharma, Vineet Pruthi
Chinese Journal of Traumatology 2019 October 28

PURPOSE: Fractures of distal radius are one of the common orthopaedic injuries. Placing the plate on volar surface requires release of underlying pronator quadratus (PQ) muscle. No consensus is present in the literature about the repair or not of the PQ. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of PQ repair on functional outcome and complications.

METHODS: Retrospectively 83 patients of distal radius fractures managed with volar plating between 2014 and 2016 were evaluated. Demographic data, operative notes and physical therapy records were retrieved. Patients were divided into group A where PQ repair was done and group B where no repair was done. Functional data such as range of motion (ROM), grip strength, visual analogue scale (VAS) score and disabilities of arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) score at 4 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and finial follow-up were retrieved.

RESULTS: Totally 63 patients (n = 29 in group A and n = 34 in group B) with the mean age of 51.64 years were examined. Patients were followed up for a mean of 35.2 months (range 27.2-47.1 months) in group A and 38.6 months (range 28.6-51.0 months) in group B. Though functional outcome of the affected limb was not significantly different between two groups after 3 months, PQ repair did affect the recovery at an early stage. Repair group had significantly better ROM (p = 0.0383) and VAS score at 4 weeks (p = 0.017) while grip strength (p = 0.014) was significantly better at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Repair of PQ may provide pain relief and increased ROM in early postoperative period and hence every attempt should be made to achieve the repair.

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