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01.12.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2014 Open Access

Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology 4/2014

External fixation versus volar locking plate for displaced intra-articular distal radius fractures: a prospective randomized comparative study of the functional outcomes

Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology > Ausgabe 4/2014
Rajeev Shukla, Ravi Kant Jain, Neeraj K. Sharma, Ravindra Kumar



The objective of the study was to compare the efficacy of external fixation and volar plating on the functional parameter of displaced intra-articular (Cooney’s type IV) distal end radius fractures using the Green and O’Brien scoring system.

Materials and methods

This prospective randomized study comprised 68 patients treated with external fixation and 42 patients treated with volar locking plates. The patients were followed up at 6 months and 1 year after surgery. The assessment of pain, range of motion, grip strength and activity were assessed at each follow-up visit and scored according to the Green and O’Brien scoring system.


At 1 year after surgery, we observed that external fixation showed significantly better results than volar locking plates using the Green and O’Brien scores for range of motion (22.0 ± 4.77 vs 19.89 ± 5.05), grip strength (19.91 ± 5.4 vs 16.89 ± 4.4) and final outcome (87.36 ± 11.62 vs 81.55 ± 11.32). No difference was found in pain and activity between these two groups of patients. Patients aged <50 years treated with external fixation showed excellent results (final score (91.57 ± 9.01) at 1 year follow-up.


External fixation showed superiority over volar locked plating after 1 year of surgery.

Level of evidence

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