Fractures of the distal radius Factors related to radiographic evaluation, conservative treatment and fracture healing
Abstract: Distal radius fractures (DRFs) are one of the most common injuries encountered in orthopaedic practise. Such fractures are most often treated conservatively, but surgical treatment has become increasingly common. This trend is not entirely scientifically basedThe aims of this thesis were threefold: to increase measurement precision in dorsal angulation (DA) on radiographs and computer tomographies (CTs); to assess the results after shortened plaster cast fixation time in reduced DRFs; and to evaluate the feasibility and safety of applying Augment® (rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP) in DRFs.In Paper I and Appendix 1 and 2, a semi-automatic CT-based three-dimensional method was developed to measure change in DA over time in DRFs. This approach proved to be a better (more sensitive) method than radiography in determining changes in DA in fractures of the distal radius.In Paper II, a CT model was used to simulate lateral radiographic views of different radial directions in relation to the X-ray. Using an alternative reference point on the distal radius, precision and accuracy in measuring DA was increased.Paper III and IV are based on a prospective and randomised clinical study (the GitRa trial) that compares clinical and radiographic outcomes after plaster cast removal at 10 days versus 1 month in 109 reduced DRFs. Three patients in the early mobilised group were excluded because of fracture dislocation (n=2) or a feeling of fracture instability (n=1). For the remaining patients in the early mobilised group (51/54) a limited but temporary gain in range of motion, but a slight increase in radiographic displacement were observed. Our results suggest that plaster cast removal at 10 days after reduction of DRFs is not feasible.Paper V is based on a prospective, randomised clinical study (the GEM trial) in which 40 externally fixated DRFs were randomised to rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP into the fracture gap or to the control group. Augment® proved to be convenient and safe during follow-up (24 weeks). However, because of the nature of the study design, the effect on fracture healing could not be determined. A decrease in pin infections was seen in the Augment® group, a finding we could not explain.
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