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Open Access Research article

Quality of life after volar locked plating: a 10-year follow-up study of patients with intra-articular distal radius fractures

Paul Ruckenstuhl1, Gerwin A Bernhardt12, Patrick Sadoghi1, Mathias Glehr1*, Lukas A Holzer1, Andreas Leithner1, Matthias Wolf1 and Gerald Gruber12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 5-7, Graz 8036, Austria

2 Department of Surgery, District Hospital of Weiz, Franz-Pichler-Straße 85, Weiz 8160, Austria

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:250  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-250

Published: 24 July 2014

Abstract

Background

This study aimed to present functional results and patient’s health related quality of life (HRQOL) data ten years after volar locked plate fixation (VPF) of unstable intra-articular distal radial fractures (DRF).

Methods

Thirty-nine patients with a mean age of sixty-one years were operatively treated with VPF after intra-articular distal radial fractures. They were evaluated two, six, and ten years postoperatively according to the Gartland and Werley score. For subjective evaluation the Short Form 36 (SF-36) and the Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaires were adopted.

Results

Overall, wrist function did not differ significantly two, six and ten years after the operation. Over 90% patients achieved “good” or “excellent” results ten years after surgery according to the Gartland and Werley score. Ten years postoperatively the results of the SF 36 did not differ significantly from the two- and six-year follow-up. Overall findings from the SF-36 did not differ significantly from the data of Austrian and American norm populations. Only in the subscale of mental health (MH) the ten-year follow-up did show significantly poorer results (p = 0.045) compared to the Austrian norm population. The median DASH scores did not show significant differences during the ten-year follow-up period.

Conclusion

The ten-year results of this single-center study suggest that operative treatment of intra-articular DRF with volar locked plates is a useful and satisfactory therapy option, both in terms of function and HRQOL.

Keywords:
Distal radius fractures; Health related quality of life; Volar plate fixation