Surgical Techniques   |    
Combined Dorsal and Volar Plate Fixation of Complex Fractures of the Distal Part of the Radius
David Ring, MD1; Karl Prommersberger, MD2; Jesse B. Jupiter, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yawkee Center, Suite 2100, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114. E-mail address for D. Ring: dring@partners.org
2 Klinik fur Handchirurgie, Salzburger Leite 1, D97615 Bad Neustadt, Germany
View Disclosures and Other Information
In support of their research or preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received grants or outside funding from the AO Foundation (D.R. and J.B.J.). None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at Klinik fur Handchirurgie, Bad Neustadt, Germany, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
The original scientific article in which the surgical technique was presented was published in JBJS Vol. 86-A, pp. 1646-1652, August 2004

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
JBJS Essential Surgical Techniques, 2005 Sep 01;87(1 suppl 2):195-212. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.E.00249
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Fractures of the distal part of the radius that are associated with complex comminution of both the articular surface and the metaphysis (subgroup C3.2 according to the Comprehensive Classification of Fractures) are a challenge for surgeons using standard operative techniques.


Twenty-five patients with subgroup-C3.2 fractures that had been treated with combined dorsal and volar plate fixation were evaluated at an average of twenty-six months after the injury. Subsequent procedures included implant removal in twenty-one patients and reconstruction of a ruptured tendon in two patients.


An average of 54° of extension, 51° of flexion, 79° of pronation, and 74° of supination were achieved. The grip strength in the involved limb was an average of 78% of that in the contralateral limb. The average radiographic measurements were 2° of dorsal angulation, 21° of ulnar inclination, 0.8 mm of positive ulnar variance, and 0.7 mm of articular incongruity. Seven patients had radiographic signs of arthrosis during the follow-up period. A good or excellent functional result was achieved for twenty-four patients (96%) according to the rating system of Gartland and Werley and for ten patients (40%) according to the more stringent modified system of Green and O'Brien.


Combined dorsal and volar plate fixation of the distal part of the radius can achieve a stable, mobile wrist in patients with very complex fractures. The results are limited by the severity of the injury and may deteriorate with longer follow-up. A second operation for implant removal is common, and there is a small risk of tendon-related complications.

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