Displaced Physeal and Metaphyseal Fractures of Distal Radius in Children. Can Wire Fixation Achieve Better Outcome at Skeletal Maturity than Cast Alone?
Introduction: Redisplacement following fracture reduction is a known sequela during the casting period in children treated for distal radius fracture. Kirschner wire pinning can be alternatively used to maintain the reduction during fracture healing. This study was conducted to compare the outcomes at skeletal maturity of distal radius fractures in children treated with a cast alone or together with a Kirschner wire transfixation.
Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study involving 57 children with metaphyseal and physeal fractures of the distal radius. There were 30 patients with metaphyseal fractures, 19 were casted, and 11 were wire transfixed. There were 27 patients with physeal fractures, 19 were treated with a cast alone, and the remaining eight underwent pinning with Kirschner wires. All were evaluated clinically, and radiologically, and their overall outcome assessed according to the scoring system, at or after skeletal maturity, at the mean follow up of 6.5 years (3.0 to 9.0 years).
Results: In the metaphysis group, patients treated with wire fixation had a restriction in wrist palmar flexion (p=0.04) compared with patients treated with a cast. There was no radiological difference between cast and wire fixation in the metaphysis group. In the physis group, restriction of motion was found in both dorsiflexion (p=0.04) and palmar flexion (p=0.01) in patients treated with wire fixation. There was a statistically significant difference in radial inclination (p=0.01) and dorsal tilt (p=0.03) between cast and wire fixation in physis group with a more increased radial inclination in wire fixation and a more dorsal tilt in patients treated with a cast. All patients were pain-free except one (5.3%) in the physis group who had only mild pain. Overall outcomes at skeletal maturity were excellent and good in all patients. Grip strength showed no statistical difference in all groups. Complications of wire fixation included radial physeal arrests, pin site infection and numbness.
Conclusion: Cast and wire fixation showed excellent and good outcomes at skeletal maturity in children with previous distal radius fracture involving both metaphysis and physis. We would recommend that children who are still having at least two years of growth remaining be treated with a cast alone following a reduction unless there is a persistent unacceptable reduction warranting a wire fixation. The site of the fracture and the type of treatment have no influence on the grip strength at skeletal maturity.
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