Anatomical reduction of intra-articular fractures of the distal radius.

An arthroscopically-assisted approach

Mehta JA, Bain GI, Heptinstall RJ

Modbury Public Hospital, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

We treated 31 intra-articular fractures of the distal radius by arthroscopically-assisted reduction and percutaneous fixation with Kirschner (K-) wires. Tears of the triangular fibrocartilage (58 %), scapholunate (85 %) and lunotriquetral (61%) instability and osteochondral lesions (19%) were also treated.

A total of 26 patients was independently reviewed at an average of 19 months. The mean pain score was 1.3/10, the range of movement 79% and the grip strength 90% of the contralateral wrist.

Using the New York Orthopaedic Hospital score, 88% were graded excellent to good. On follow-up radiographs, 65% had no step and 31% had a step of < or =1 mm. Pain was significantly related to the size of the step. There was a significant difference in the incidence of persistent scapholunate diastasis and the Leibovic and Geissler grade (p < 0.01): I (0%), II (0%), III (42%) and IV (100%). We recommend anatomical reduction and acceptance of a step of <1 mm since the size of the step is related to the incidence of pain.

J Bone Joint Surg Br 2000 Jan;82(1):79-86

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