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Complications in Distal Radius Fracture Fixation: A Comparative Case Series

Aim: To compare the complication rate for 471 distal radius fracture treated with either the synthes two column plate or the DePuy distal volar radius plate (DVR) for fixation of distal radius fractures.

Methods: A retrospective study was performed by gathering data from all patients treated with internal fixation for distal radius fractures at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, a level-one trauma centre, between October 2011 and April 2015. Data was collected by reviewing clinic electronic medical records and hospital logs to verify consecutive cases, fixation method, and complications. Radiographs were reviewed to identify nature of complication. The primary end point was complication directly related to plating that necessitated reoperation. Statistical analysis was performed by graph pad.

Results: Between October 2011 and April 2015, 471 patients underwent fixation of a distal radius fracture by 31 different orthopedic consultants at a level 1 trauma centre. One hundred and fifty seven distal radius fractures were treated with a Synthes 2 column plate and 314 distal radius fractures were treated with a DVR plate. The average age was 56 (15-94) years in the DVR group and 52.3 (17-91) years in the Synthes group. Fifty six percent of the Synthes 2 column plate cohort was female with 66% of the DVR cohort being female. No significant difference between complication rates existed between the two cohorts. Ten patients (6.5%) in the Synthes cohort required a secondary procedure with 2 (1.3%) suffering failure of fixation and subsequent fusion. Twenty-two patients (7.0%) in the DVR cohort required secondary procedure, including 2 tendon ruptures (0.6%) and one failure of fixation (0.3%).

Conclusion: This study has shown no difference in complication rate associated with the use two commonly used distal radius fracture implants.


James C Beazley, Rory Norris and Andrew Mahon

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