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Interventions for Distal Radius Fractures: A Meta-analysis of Comparison Studies
Background Distal radius fractures are one of the most frequent orthopaedic injuries. There are many effective treatment methods, such as volar plate, dorsal plate, percutaneous pins, external fixation, and casting; however, comparison of the treatment outcomes has not been thoroughly investigated. Our purpose is to determine if volar plating is the superior treatment method for distal radius fractures. We will address this through the following questions: First, is volar plating superior to dorsal plating, percutaneous pins, external fixation, or casting in terms of reported complications? Second, does volar plating produce superior functional outcomes to dorsal plating, percutaneous pins, external fixation, or casting? Third, are the radiographic outcomes superior for volar plating when compared with dorsal plating, percutaneous pins, external fixation, or casting?
Methods MEDLINE, Academic Search Ultimate, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL Plus, and JSTOR databases, as well as manual search, were used to identify papers comparing complications and functional results of volar plating to other treatment methods for distal radius fractures published after the year 2000. Complication data and function scores were recorded. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool and data was analyzed for meta-analysis using Cochrane ReviewManager software.
Results Compared with dorsal plate, volar plate performed significantly better in Gartland and Werley score. Volar plating outperformed percutaneous pins for loss of reduction, infection, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) score, and ulnar deviation. Loss of reduction, malunion, Patient Related Wrist Evaluation (PRWE) score, DASH score, grip strength, ulnar deviation, and supination were significantly better for volar plating when compared with casting. When compared with external fixation, volar plating had significantly less cases of infection, lower QuickDASH score, and higher range of motion for flexion, pronation, and supination. All other complication and functional outcomes were not significantly different.
Conclusions Distal radius fractures treated with volar plating showed relatively better measures of complications, function scores, and range of motion than other treatment methods; however, there was no significant difference in healing time when compared with percutaneous pins. More studies are needed to compare the rest of the treatment methods with each other.
Keywordsdistal radial fracture - volar or dorsal plate - percutaneous pins - external fixation - casting
Received: 18 June 2020
Accepted: 29 December 2020
Article published online:
09 February 2021
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