What's new in distal radius fracture treatment for 2007

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Distal radius fractures are encountered by almost every orthopaedist. The development of unique plating systems for the distal radius has caused debate and confusion in the literature. This review will comment on relevant papers published in the past year to evaluate what important gains have been made in the field.

Recent findings

Biomechanical studies continue to attempt to find an advantage for one plating system or fracture configuration over another, but the research has shown that almost all configurations are adequate enough to provide stability for fracture healing. The outcomes assessments evaluating different approaches and techniques have produced mostly good to excellent results. The surgeon should be aware of potential complications, especially tendon irritation and rupture, with either dorsal plating or volar plating. Recent developments for comminuted fractures include bone graft substitutes and internal radiocarpal spanning plates.

Summary

As no one method has a clear advantage, the surgeon treating distal radius fractures should be familiar with all treatment options. It is important to approach each fracture as unique and not treat all with just a single technique. Knowing the indications, results, and potential complications of these methods is a requisite for optimal treatment of these common fractures.

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