Functional and radiological outcome after forearm plating in children and adolescent fracture


forearm ; overgrowth ; plate ; children and adolescent

Published online: Jun 15 2021

Paul Cremer, Audrey Angelliaume, Abdelfetah Lalioui, Gabriel Cellarier, Luke Harper, Yan Lefevre

From the Department of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Children hospital, Bordeaux, France


The literature on forearm overgrowth after plating in traumatic conditions is relatively poor though this technique can be useful when intra-medullary nailing is not sufficient in pediatric cases. The goal of this study was to assess a potential overgrowth after plating and identify impact on function.

We conducted a retrospective study of all pediatric patients who underwent open surgery of the radius and/or ulna diaphysis with internal fixation by plating, in our institution, between October 2013 and July 2019. At last follow-up, functional and radiological outcomes were compared between the operated and uninjured forearm. Range of motion (ROM) of the wrist and elbow, clinical scores, radial and ulnar length were measured. A positive bone length discrepancy of more than 2mm was considered as an overgrowth. Were also studied the radio-ulnar index, radial inclination and radiocarpal angle.

Thirteen patients were included. The mean age was 12.1 years old (±3.0 years), they were plated on the radius (10 cases) or on the ulna (3 cases). Mean follow- up was 4.4 years (± 1.8). In two cases, the plated bone (radius) was significantly longer than the uninjured one. There was no significant difference regarding radio-ulnar index, radial inclination and radiocarpal angle. The only statistically significant difference between the operated and uninjured forearm was the pronation/supination range, which was greater in the uninjured forearm (mean 160 ±48° versus 175 ±49°, p=0.01).

This study confirms the good functional and radiological outcomes after plating even in a skeletally immature forearm.

Level of evidence : IV.