With the current routine use of volar locking plates as the preferred surgical treatment option for distal radius fractures, the purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of postoperative complications following surgery and, second, investigate the correlation between demographic factors and the risk of complications.
We retrospectively reviewed all patients who had been surgically treated for a distal radius fracture with open reduction and internal fixation using volar plating and screws during a 3-year period. Relevant demographic information and all postoperative complications of the 822 patients eligible for inclusion were recorded, with a mean follow-up time of 2.8 years.
We identified an overall complication rate of 12.3% (101 of the 822 patients), with 4.8% defined as experiencing major complications and 7.5% defined as experiencing minor complications. The most frequent were complications that led to hardware removal, observed in 2.7% (n = 22) of the patients; wound-related problems that did not require surgical revision, observed in 2.2% (n = 18) of the patients; and carpal tunnel syndrome, observed in 1.9% (n = 16) of the patients. Binary logistic regression modeling showed no correlation between demographic factors and the risk of complications.
In conclusion, a low overall complication rate of 12.3% was found. Further, 4.8% of the patients experienced a major complication and 7.5% of the patients experienced a minor complication following open reduction and internal fixation using volar plating of distal radius fractures. Age, sex, fracture type, and time from trauma to surgery were not found to be associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications.
Type of study/level of evidence
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Published online: January 24, 2023
Accepted: November 2, 2022
Received: April 22, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
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