Introduction: Extensor tendon rupture is a recognized complication of volar plate fixation of distal radius fractures due to screws protruding past the dorsal cortex. The aim of this study was to compare the Skyline view with traditional lateral fluoroscopic views using ultrasonography as a reference standard in the postoperative assessment.
Materials and methods: A monocentric prospective study was conducted to identify screws penetrating the dorsal cortex after volar plating of distal radius fractures.
Patients and intervention: Intraoperative anteroposterior (AP) and lateral views were used for group A (28 patients). AP, lateral and skyline fluoroscopic views were used for Group B (40 patients). Prominent screws were changed.
Main outcome measurements: Ultrasound was done 6 months postoperatively to evaluate the number and length of prominent dorsal screws and any signs of extensor tenosynovitis.
Results: The number of prominent dorsal screws exceeding 1 mm was 14 in group A (14.9%), and 16 screws (11.8%) in group B (p = 0.487). Average length of prominent dorsal screw was 1.9 mm (range 1-2.1 mm) for group A and 2.4 mm (range 1.1-4.8 mm) for group B (p = 0.534). The number of patients with extensor tenosynovitis was 11 for group A and 12 for group B (p = 0.66).
Conclusions: The Skyline view does not provide sensitive and reliable detection of the dorsal screw penetration. Intraoperative ultrasound might be a better tool to detect screw prominence.
Level of evidence: III, case-control study.
Keywords: Distal radius fracture; ORIF; Skyline view; Tendon rupture; Wrist ultrasonography.