Complications After Distal Radius Fracture Treatment
Adeyemi A Ogunleye, MD, SM; Donna Fewell, MD; Milton B. Armstrong, MD, FACS; Fernando Herrera, MD
Medical University of South Carolina Hospital, Charleston, SC
Introduction: Distal radius fracture is a common fracture of the upper extremity. The purpose of our study was to compare complication rates for distal radius fracture treated operatively versus those treated non-operatively at a single academic institution over a 5 year period.
Methods: All patients presenting to the clinic or emergency room at a university-hospital hand service between 2010 and 2015 were included in the study. Preoperative radiographs were analyzed and the patients were managed by surgeon preference and evaluated postoperatively using pain scores and Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand scores. The operative and non-operative management groups were compared based on clinical outcomes.
Results: A total of 171 distal radius fractures in 169 patients were treated over the 5-year period of the study. 44 (25.7)% of the patients were managed non-operatively with casting, 26 (15.2%) with closed reduction and pinning, and 116 (67.8%) with open reduction and plating. Mean follow-up was 4.9 months. The most common complication was median neuropathy (6 patients), followed by persistent pain and loss of reduction. There was no significant difference in complication rates (p=0. 18) or pain scores (p=0.56) between the operative and non-operative management groups.
Conclusion: After adjustment for fracture severity, operative and non-operative management of distal radius fractures resulted in similar clinical outcomes.
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