The low-profile dorsal locking plating (DLP) technique is useful for treating dorsally comminuted intra-articular distal radius fractures; however, due to the complications associated with DLP, the technique is not widely used.Methods
A retrospective review of 24 consecutive cases treated with DLP were done.Results
All cases were classified into two types by surgical strategy according to the fracture pattern. In type 1, there is a volar fracture line distal to the watershed line in the dorsally displaced fragment, and this type is treated by H-framed DLP. In type 2, the displaced dorsal die-punch fragment is associated with a minimally displaced styloid shearing fracture or a transverse volar fracture line. We found that the die-punch fragment was reduced by the buttress effect of small L-shaped DLP after stabilization of the styloid shearing for the volar segment by cannulated screws from radial styloid processes. At 6 months after surgery, outcomes were good or excellent based on the modified Mayo wrist scores with no serious complications except one case. The mean range of motion of each type was as follows: the palmar flexion was 50, 65 degrees, dorsiflexion was 70, 75 degrees, supination was 85, 85 degrees, and pronation was 80, 80 degrees; in type 1 and 2, respectively.Conclusion
DLP is a useful technique for the treatment of selected cases of dorsally displaced, comminuted intra-articular fractures of the distal radius with careful soft tissue coverage.