Quality of Life After Volar Plate Fixation of Articular Fractures of the Distal Part of the Radius

Author(s): Gruber G, Zacherl M, Giessauf C, et al.

Source: J Bone Joint Surg 92 (5): 1170-1178, 2010.

This study attempts to correlate quality of life after volar locked plate fixation with functional and radiographic results as well as with quality-of-life data from population norms.  The authors reviewed the results of 54 patients with intra-articular distal radial fractures at a mean of six years postoperatively.

Objective and subjective outcomes were measured and compared with United States and Austrian population norms. Functional improvement was found to continue for two years postoperatively.  Over 90% of all patients had good or excellent results with the outcome measures utilized.  There were 20 patients who developed radiocarpal arthritis and consequently had poorer outcome in the physical component summary measure of their Short Form-36 questionnaire (p = 0.012).   Lastly, outcome measures were consistent with United States and Austrian population norms. 

This study shows that patients with volar plate fixation for intraarticular distal radius fractures may develop wrist arthritis which may subsequently affect a patient’s subjective well-being, but may not influence the functional outcome.