Volar Versus Dorsal Locking Plates With and Without Radial Styloid Locking Plates for the Fixation of Dorsally Comminuted Distal Radius Fractures: A Biomechanical Study in Cadavers

M. Blythe, Karl Stoffel, Paul Jarrett, Markus Kuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To compare the stability and stiffness of dorsal and volar fixed-angle distal radius constructs in a cadaveric model.Methods: A locking distal radius system was used in a combination of a dorsal and styloid plate (group 1), a single volar plate (group 2), and a combination of a volar and styloid plate (group 3) configuration. In addition a single volar 3.5-mm steel locking plate was used in group 4. Each construct was tested on 6 fresh-frozen radii with simulated unstable dorsally comminuted extra-articular distal radius fractures. Specimens were tested on a material testing machine with an extensometer and subjected to axial compression fatigue and load-to-failure testing.Results: No construct failed in fatigue testing of 250 N for 5,000 cycles. Two specimens in each group were tested for 20,000 cycles without failure. The plastic deformation in the double-plate groups was lower compared with the single-plate groups, although the difference was not statistically significant. Group 1 had the highest and group 4 the lowest failure load and stiffness, respectively. The differences between group 1 and the other groups, except failure load compared with group 3, were statistically significant. Groups 2 and 3 had a significantly higher load to failure and group 3 had a significantly higher stiffness compared with group 4.Conclusions: All constructs offer adequate stability with minimal deformation on fatigue testing under physiologic conditions. Dorsal fixed-angle constructs are stiffer and stronger than volar constructs. The addition of a styloid plate to a volar plate did not significantly improve stability in this model of simulated extra-articular dorsal comminution loaded in axial compression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1587-1593
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery (American Volume)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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