Fixed-angle volar plate fixation for distal radius fractures in immunosuppressed patients

Erik D. Peterson, David G. Dennison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to define the outcome and complications following open reduction and internal fixed-angle plating of distal radius fractures for patients on chronic immunosuppression medications. A retrospective study identified 11 patients with distal radius fractures that had been on chronic immunosuppressive medication. The mean patient age was 59.9 years (40-82 years). According to the Orthopedic Trauma Association classification, there was one 23A3, one 23B3, and nine 23C type fractures. There were two open fractures. All patients received preoperative antibiotics and underwent reduction and fixation with a volar, fixed-angle plate. Postoperative measurements included postoperative and final radiographic indices, wrist flexion and extension, forearm rotation, and grip strength. Clinical follow-up averaged 13 months, and radiographic follow-up averaged 14.9 months. Statistical analysis was performed comparing means of various parameters with a two-sided t test with an alpha value ≤0.05. All fractures healed, and there were no infections. The final mean ulnar variance, volar tilt, and radial inclination were -0.1 mm (ulnar negative; -2.0 to +2.5 mm), 13° (5-23°), and 21° (15-27°), respectively. The mean articular gap or step was 0.4 mm. There was a small but significant decrease between the final and postoperative mean ulnar variance (p = 0.03). Mean wrist flexion was 47°, extension 47°, pronation 77°, and supination was 76°. Grip strength averaged 16.3 kg versus 25.1 kg for the opposite extremity. The one major complication included a postoperative carpal tunnel syndrome. Fixed-angle volar plate fixation for distal radius fractures in patients with chronic immunosuppression was associated with union (with acceptable radiographic alignment), no wound-healing problems or infections, and with functional wrist and forearm motion and grip strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-291
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Distal radius
  • Fracture
  • Immunosuppressed
  • Volar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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