A randomised, prospective study was carried out on 60 patients with unstable fractures of the distal radius to compare bridging with non-bridging external fixation using pins placed in the distal fragment of the radius.
The radiological results showed significant improvement in the non-bridging group at all stages of review. In particular, normal volar tilt and carpal alignment were regained and maintained. The functional results at six weeks, three months, six months and one year showed statistically better grip strength and flexion in the non-bridging group at all stages of review. Other ranges of movement showed an early advantage in the non-bridging group.
Non-bridging external fixation is the treatment of choice for unstable fractures of the distal radius which have sufficient space for the placement of pins in the distal fragment.
J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 1998;80-B:665-9.