Complications of Volar Locked Plating of Distal Radius Fractures: A Prospective Investigation of Modern Techniques.
BACKGROUND: Although volar locked plating (VLP) of distal radius fractures is common, complications remain a considerable concern for upper extremity specialists using modern techniques. METHODS: Complications following VLP of DR fractures were recorded prospectively from January 2005 to January 2017. Fractures were characterized using the AO classification, and complications were described by severity. Severe complications required operative treatment and/or resulted in permanent impairment, moderate complications required nonoperative treatment, and mild complications resolved without intervention. The available Current Procedural Terminology data for uncomplicated VLP were used to calculate the complication rate. Statistical analysis compared severe and nonsevere complications. RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients (27 women; 39 radii) experienced complications following VLP of DR fractures, resulting in a complication rate of 13.2%. For those with complications, the mean age was 48.5 ± 13.5 years (range: 19-78 years) and the mean follow-up was 13.7 ± 9.0 months (range: 3-36 months). A majority (28/39: 71.8%) had type C fractures. The most common complications were hardware complication requiring removal (18) and malunion (6). There were only 3 tendon ruptures. There were 25 unplanned returns to the operating room in 24 radii (22 patients). The most common reason was removal of hardware (18). Patients with severe complications more commonly had AO type C fractures and required longer follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Modern VLP of DR fractures has a complication rate of 13.2%. Hardware complication requiring removal was the most notable complication of VLP. Tendon rupture has become rare with modern techniques. AO type C fractures were associated with more severe complications.
Pidgeon, TS; Casey, P; Baumgartner, RE; Ferlauto, H; Ruch, DS
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