Numerous complications have been attributed to elective plate removal following successful treatment of both bone diaphyseal forearm fractures, yet the effects of retained implants are not known. Fourteen patients were reviewed for residual forearm grip strength (FGS) and bone mineral density (BMD) following uneventful union. Patients were analyzed in two groups based upon time from fixation: Group I, >2 years but ≤5 years, and group II, >5 years. In group I, mean 2.6 years follow-up (n = 6), mean FGS ratios (patient values/age matched general population means) were 0.65 and 0.77, respectively, for plated and normal limbs (p = 0.08). The mean BMD ratios of plated/normal sides adjacent to the plate were 0.99 (ulna) and 1.02 (radius); these values were not significantly different from more proximal forearm BMD ratios (p = 0.92 ulna; p = 0.44, radius). In group II, mean 8.4 years (n = 8), mean FGS ratios were 0.97 and 1.09, respectively, for plated and normal limbs (p > 0.05). The BMD ratio was 1.04 adjacent to the plate; this was not significantly different from the ratios measured away from the plate (p > 0.4). We conclude that retained forearm plates can be well tolerated and that their routine removal is not indicated based on FGS or BMD.
- Bone mineral density
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine