ORIF of distal radial fractures leads to better immediate postoperative function
Functional outcomes for unstable distal radial fractures treated with open reduction and internal fixation or closed reduction and percutaneous fixation. A prospective randomized trialJ Bone Joint Surg Am. 2009 Aug;91(8):1837-46.
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45 patients with displaced unstable fracture of the distal radius were randomized to receive open reduction and internal fixation or closed reduction and pin fixation. This study assessed if ORIF provided better early clinical outcomes compared to closed reduction with pin fixation. The results from this study indicated that ORIF provided better early postoperative outcomes in terms of ROM, strength, and DASH scores. At one year follow-up, both methods resulted in similar functional outcomes.
Was the allocation sequence adequately generated?
Was allocation adequately concealed?
Blinding Treatment Providers: Was knowledge of the allocated interventions adequately prevented?
Blinding Outcome Assessors: Was knowledge of the allocated interventions adequately prevented?
Blinding Patients: Was knowledge of the allocated interventions adequately prevented?
Was loss to follow-up (missing outcome data) infrequent?
Are reports of the study free of suggestion of selective outcome reporting?
Were outcomes objective, patient-important and assessed in a manner to limit bias (ie. duplicate assessors, Independent assessors)?
Was the sample size sufficiently large to assure a balance of prognosis and sufficiently large number of outcome events?
Was investigator expertise/experience with both treatment and control techniques likely the same (ie.were criteria for surgeon participation/expertise provided)?
Yes = 1
Uncertain = 0.5
Not Relevant = 0
No = 0
The Reporting Criteria Assessment evaluates the transparency with which authors report the methodological and trial characteristics of the trial within the publication. The assessment is divided into five categories which are presented below.
Inclusion / Exclusion
Detsky AS, Naylor CD, O'Rourke K, McGeer AJ, L'Abbé KA. J Clin Epidemiol. 1992;45:255-65
The Fragility Index is a tool that aids in the interpretation of significant findings, providing a measure of strength for a result. The Fragility Index represents the number of consecutive events that need to be added to a dichotomous outcome to make the finding no longer significant. A small number represents a weaker finding and a large number represents a stronger finding.
Why was this study needed now?
Distal radius fractures are the most common fracture of the upper extremity. Anatomic reduction with stable fixation has long been the treatment of choice for displaced, unstable fractures. Closed reduction with percutaneous pin fixation and/or external fixation has historically been the most common treatment for unstable injuries. However, open reduction and internal fixation has gained popularity, with emergence of volar locking plate technology. Internal fixation may allow immediate range of motion of the wrist. Few randomized trials exist to determine if this method is superior, with emphasis on early functional recovery.
What was the principal research question?
In patients undergoing reduction for a distal radial fracture, will open reduction and internal fixation with a volar plate lead to better outcomes when evaluated against closed reduction with percutaneous pin fixation, upto one year?
What were the important findings?
- Patients in the open reduction and internal fixation group had greater ROM and strength in all parameters compared to patients in the control group at the early postoperative time points (significance was achieved in all measurements, except digital motion to palm, at 6 weeks)
- Mean flexion-extension arc was significantly greater for the open reduction and internal fixation group over time (P<0.01)
- At six weeks postoperatively, average DASH score was 27 in the open reduction and internal fixation group and 53 in the closed reduction and percutaneous pin fixation group (p<0.01). At one year, scores became similar in both groups (4 compared with 9; P=0.18).
What should I remember most?
Both open reduction and internal fixation with a volar plate and closed reduction with percutaneous pin fixation to treat distal radial fractures resulted in good clinical and radiographical outcomes. Patients managed with a volar plate had better ROM, grip strength, and lower DASH scores in the early postoperative period.
How will this affect the care of my patients?
This study suggests open reduction and internal fixation with a volar plate, as compared to closed reduction with percutaneous pin fixation, is a superior treatment modality in patients with distal radius fractures. Future methodologically sound studies are required with larger sample sizes to validate such conclusions.
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