Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether prominent radial shaft screws in volar locked plating of distal radius fractures increase the risk of tendon irritation, tendon rupture, or hardware removal. Methods: Patients who underwent volar locked plating of distal radius fractures from April 2002 to March 2016 with at least 6 months of follow-up were evaluated. Variables examined included demographics, extensor tendon irritation, extensor tendon rupture, and hardware removal. The most prominent cortical screws on postoperative lateral radiographs were identified and measured from the dorsal cortex of the radial shaft to the tip of the screw. Results: In all, 261 distal radius fractures in 255 patients were identified. Thirty-nine patients (14.9%) underwent subsequent hardware removal at a mean 15.8 ± 18.6 months. Nine patients (3.45%) were found to have clinically significant extensor tendon irritation including one patient (0.38%) with extensor tendon rupture. The average screw was 1.48 mm proud of the dorsal radial cortex. In all, 22.6% of screws were greater than 2 mm proud. Comparing patients who underwent hardware removal with those who did not, there was no statistically significant difference in mean screw prominence or proportion of patients with screws greater than 2 mm. There was no statistically significant difference between shaft screw prominence and extensor tendon irritation. Conclusions: The effect of dorsal screw prominence of radial shaft screws is not significant. This study does not support the downsizing of prominent screws 2 mm or less.
- distal radius
- tendon rupture
- volar locking plate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine