[Vitamin C and prevention of reflex sympathetic dystrophy following surgical management of distal radius fractures]

Acta Orthop Belg. 2002 Dec;68(5):481-4.
[Article in French]


Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a major complication following surgical treatment of fractures of the distal radius. Its pathogenesis is related to lipid peroxidation which damages vascular endothelial cells, increasing capillary permeability. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant. The authors have made a comparative study of two groups of patients with isolated closed displaced fractures of the distal radius, which were reduced and stabilized by intrafocal pinning. Group 1 included 100 patients who were treated from 1995 until 1998 and who did not receive any vitamin C supplementation; group 2 included 95 patients who were treated from 1999 to 2002 and who received daily administration of one gram vitamin C orally during 45 days, starting on the day of fracture. The incidence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy was five time times lower in group 2 (2.1% versus 10%). This is in line with previous observations and lends credit to the value of vitamin C administration as a prophylactic measure to prevent the occurrence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in patients who undergo surgical treatment of a displaced fracture of the distal radius.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Bone Nails
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radius Fractures / surgery*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / drug therapy*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / etiology
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / prevention & control*


  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic Acid