Although secondary displacement following closed reduction and plaster immobilisation is high, several guidelines still recommend non-operative treatment for displaced distal radius fractures with an adequate closed reduction.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate functional outcomes, measured with the Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, in non-operative treated patients with displaced distal radius fractures and an adequate closed reduction confirmed on radiograph.
Materials and methods
From a retrospective database, we reviewed non-operative treated adult patients with an unilateral displaced distal radius fracture and adequate closed reduction confirmed on radiograph. The primary outcome was the DASH score at 12months. DASH scores were prospectively collected pre-trauma and at three, six and 12months. Secondary outcome was the number of subsequent surgeries due to secondary displacement or a symptomatic malunion, and their possible predictors. Additionally, the difference in DASH scores between patients who were treated due to secondary displacement and asymptomatic malunion was compared.
One-hundred and sixteen patients were included. The median age was 62 years and 79% was female. Fractures were classified according to the AO/OTA classification as follows: AO/OTA type A (49%), AO/OTA type B (3%), AO/OTA type C (48%). After 12months the median DASH score was 15. Forty-six (40%) patients underwent subsequent surgery due to a secondary displacement or symptomatic malunion. No significant differences in DASH scores between patients who were treated non-operatively and patients who received subsequent surgery were found. Younger patients were more likely to undergo subsequent surgery. Patients with a symptomatic malunion had significant higher DASH scores compared to patients with secondary displacement.
Non-operative treatment of displaced distal radius fractures after adequate closed reduction confirmed on radiograph leads to acceptable functional outcomes after 12months, however, at the expense of 40% subsequent surgeries.
Level of evidence
Level IV, retrospective cohort study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Distal radius, Displaced, Non-operative, Secondary displacement, Malunion