Late collapse of distal radius fractures after K-wire removal: is it significant?

J Orthop Traumatol. 2008 Jun;9(2):69-72. doi: 10.1007/s10195-008-0005-7. Epub 2008 May 22.


Background: The aim of this study was to find out whether distal radius fractures treated by Kirschner wire (K wire) fixation loose reduction after wire removal and analyze the variables may influence this.

Materials and methods: Patients who underwent K wire fixation for unstable fractures of distal radius over a period of 3 years were included in this retrospective study. Fractures were classified according to AO classification. Radiographs taken just prior to removal of K wires and radiographs taken at least 1 month after wire removal were analyzed to study three radiological parameters; Palmar or dorsal tilt, radial inclination and ulnar variance. Loss of these angles was analyzed statistically against variables like age, sex, AO classification and duration of fixation.

Results: 59 fractures were analyzed with mean age of 56 years and male to female ratio of 1:2. Average loss of radial tilt was 2.6 degrees , loss of palmar tilt was 2.6 degrees and loss of ulnar variance was 1.3 mm.

Conclusions: We found that distal radius fractures treated by percutaneous K wire fixation, did not suffer significant loss of reduction of fracture position after removal of wires. This remains true regardless of age, sex, fracture type according to AO type or duration of wire fixation.