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27.02.2019 | Original Article

Comparison of fracture healing and long-term patient-reported functional outcome between dorsal and volar plating for AO C3-type distal radius fractures

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Paphon Sa-ngasoongsong, Manuela Rohner-Spengler, Dimitri E. Delagrammaticas, Reto Hansjörg Babst, Frank J. P. Beeres



This study aimed to evaluate the differences in long-term functional outcome and radiographic fracture healing between volar and dorsally approached comminuted intra-articular distal radius fractures (DRF) (AO C3-type).


A retrospective, age-matched, case–control study with a 1:2 allocation ratio was conducted in 84 patients C3-type DRFs patients who underwent either dorsal locking plating (DLP) group (n = 28) or volar locking plating (VLP) group (n = 56). Standardized wrist radiographs (posterior–anterior and 15° lateral) were assessed immediately postoperative and at final follow. To evaluate for loss of reduction standard radiographic measurements were performed. Fracture healing was assessed radiologically. Patient-reported outcomes were assessed with the patient-related wrist evaluation and the EQ-5D-3L for health-related quality of life. Patient satisfaction was assessed with the use of a numeric analog scale ranging from 0 (not satisfied) to 100 (very satisfied).


All fractures united within 3 months postoperatively. Average age was 59 ± 12 years. Fifty-five patients (66%) participated in the follow-up survey at an average of 76.6 ± 23.8 months. DLP group showed a significant change in sagittal tilt compared with VLP group (3.4 ± 3.0° vs − 0.4 ± 4.1°, p < 0.001). No significant difference in other radiographic and long-term functional outcome was found between both groups (p > 0.05).


Dorsal locking plating fixation in C3-type DRFs resulted in a minimal, but statistically significant, volar collapse of sagittal tilt compared with volar locking plating fixation. However, this difference in volar collapse did not significantly influence the long-term clinical outcome.

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