Percutaneous K-wire fixation versus palmar plating with locking screws for Colles’ fractures

Published online: Apr 16 2011

Nadine Hollevoet, Tom Vanhoutte, Wim Vanhove, René Verdonk

From Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


Different methods exist to treat distal radius fractures. A prospective randomized study was conducted to establish whether palmar plate fixation with locking screws gave better results than percutaneous K-wire fixation in patients over 50 years of age. Only fractures with dorsal displacement after a simple fall were included in the study. Twenty wrists were treated with K-wires and 20 with a plate. Radiological parameters were measured on preoperative radiographs and at five weeks postoperatively. Clinical results and DASH scores were determined at three months postoperatively and at more than one year. No significant difference in radial inclination, palmar tilt, clinical outcome and DASH score was found between plating and K-wires, but the mean difference in ulnar variance between pre- and postoperative radiographs was significantly better with plates. It can be concluded that plates were superior to K-wires in restoring ulnar variance, but functional outcome was similar with both techniques.