Concomitant Ulnar Styloid Fractures in Distal Radius Osteosynthesis Does Not Impact Radiographic Outcomes, Ulnar Sided Symptoms and Patient Outcomes
Introduction: Current literature reports varied significance of ulnar styloid fractures (USF) associated with distal radius fractures. Our study assesses the role of ulnar styloid fractures and fragment size in surgically managed distal radius fractures.
Materials and methods: We reviewed patients who underwent surgical fixation of distal radius fractures between January 2004 to June 2006. Patients were divided into those with (Group 1) and without (Group 0) USFs. Post-operative radiographic parameters, clinical outcomes and overall wrist function were analysed. Outcomes included ulnar-sided wrist pain, extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendinitis, triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) grind test, distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) instability and pain. Overall wrist function was assessed with range of motion and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score.
Results: Our study cohort included 31 males and 23 females, and 38.9% of these patients had concomitant USFs. There was no difference in terms of demographic data and fracture configuration between groups. Radiographic parameters were similar, except for palmar tilt, which was significantly higher in Group 1 (4.6º vs 9.4º, p=0.047). At 24 months, there were no differences in clinical outcomes and overall wrist function. A sub-group analysis showed that mean USF fragment size was larger in patients with a positive TFCC grind test (3.9mm vs 7.3mm, p=0.033).
Conclusion: The presence of USFs in surgically managed distal radius fractures does not compromise clinical and functional outcome. Similarly, the size of USFs does not impact clinical and functional outcome but is associated with the presence of a positive TFCC grind test.
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