The dorsal tangential X-ray view to determine dorsal screw penetration during volar plating of distal radius fractures

J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Jan;40(1):27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2014.10.021. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Purpose: To evaluate whether the dorsal tangential view (DTV) allows for reliable and valid in vivo measurement of the distance between screw tips and the dorsal radial cortex (STCD) during volar plating of distal radius fractures.

Methods: Subjects included 22 patients with displaced distal radius fractures who had volar plate osteosynthesis. We performed standardized DTV images intraoperatively. After surgery, we performed computed tomography (CT) scans with reconstructions parallel to the distal screws. Three independent observers blinded to the study protocol measured the STCD on the basis of the DTV images and CT reconstructions. We calculated inter- and intraobserver reliability and the correlation between STCD values measured with DTV images and CT scans.

Results: Eleven screws were changed intraoperatively. We observed no cases of postoperative screw perforations. Inter- and intraobserver reliability of STCD measurement was good when measured with DTV images and excellent when measured on the basis of CT reconstructions. Statistical analysis showed a good correlation between mean STCD values measured with DTV and CT.

Conclusions: The DTV allowed in vivo evaluation of the dorsal radial cortex and enabled reliable assessment of the distance between the screw tip and the dorsal cortex. It may allow detection of dorsal screw perforation during volar plating of distal radial fractures.

Keywords: DTV; distal radius; extensor tendon injury; screw perforation; volar plating.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Plates
  • Bone Screws*
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radius Fractures / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radius Fractures / surgery*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed