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J Hand Surg Br. 1995 Jun;20(3):365-72.

Pins and plaster vs external fixation in the treatment of unstable distal radial fractures. A randomized prospective study.

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Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Utah Medical Centre, Salt Lake City, USA.


90 unstable fractures of the distal radius were studied in a randomized, prospective manner. Follow-up consisted of patient questionnaire, medical record review, therapist evaluation and radiography at 4 months, 1 year and 2 years post-operatively. Overall results were good or excellent in 94%. No significant differences were found between treatment groups (external fixation and pins and plaster) in final results, range of motion, intrinsic tightness, grip strength, or the presence of arthritis. The complication rate was high for both groups (45%), and half of the complications were major. External fixation maintained radial length more effectively (significantly in those patients followed for 2 years) but was associated with higher initial costs (20 times) and a greater number of minor complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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