Can external fixation maintain reduction after distal radius fractures?

Paul Dicpinigaitis, Philip Wolinsky, Rudi Hiebert, Kenneth Egol, Kenneth Koval, Nirmal Tejwani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of external fixation and percutaneous pinning in maintaining distal radius fracture reduction over a 6-month period and to identify factors that might predict loss of fracture reduction. Methods: Seventy cases had complete radiographic evaluation before surgery; at surgery; and at 6-week, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up. Radiographic parameters measured included volar tilt, dorsal displacement, radial inclination, radial height, radial shift, and ulnar variance. Results: Dorsal tilt averaged 17.5 degrees from neutral before surgery; this value was corrected to 0.9 degree at surgery, but then progressed to 4.2 degrees by the 6-month follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, 49% of cases had lost more than 5 degrees of initially reduced volar tilt. However, none of these patients went from an acceptable initial reduction to an unacceptable reduction at 6 months. Initial deformity, patient age, use of bone graft, and duration of external fixation were not predictors of loss of reduction. Conclusion: Loss of reduction of volar tilt was seen for a period of up to 6 months after fixation, despite the use of pinning to hold the reduction. No specific predictor of loss of reduction was noted, although there was a trend toward loss of reduction in younger patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-850
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomic Fracture Reduction
  • Augmented external fixation with Kirschner wires
  • Distal radius fracture
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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