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J Wrist Surg. 2014 Feb;3(1):42-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1364096.

One size does not fit all: distal radioulnar joint dysfunction after volar locking plate fixation.

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Orthopaedic Registrar, NSW Northside Training Program, Royal Australian College of Surgeons, Victoria, Australia.
Hand Surgeon, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Background Fractures of the distal radius are among the most common injuries treated by orthopedic surgeons worldwide. Failure to restore distal radius alignment can lead to fracture malunion and poor clinical outcomes, including distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) instability and limitation of motion. Case Description We present a unique case of DRUJ dysfunction following volar plate fixation of bilateral distal radius fractures and analyze the biomechanical causes of this complication. As a result of a relatively excessive tilt of the precontoured locking plate (in comparison to the patient's particular anatomy), the fracture on one side was "over-reduced," disrupting the biomechanics of the DRUJ, causing a supination block. Clinical Relevance Volar locking plates are not a panacea to all distal radius fractures. Plate selection and fixation technique must include consideration of patient anatomy. Robust plates offer the advantage of providing rigid fixation but can be difficult to contour when reconstructing normal anatomy. Restoration of patient-specific anatomy is crucial to the management of distal radius fractures.


DRUJ; distal radius fracture; volar locking plate; wrist surgery

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