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Impact of Ulnar Styloid Fractures on the Treatment Effect of Distal Radius Fractures with Volar Plate Fixation: A Case Control Study

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There is a controversy regarding whether ulnar styloid fractures affect the efficacy of treatment of distal radial fractures. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether ulnar styloid fractures impact wrist joint function in patients without distal radioulnar joint instability, after distal radial fracture fixation using a volar plate.

Materials and Methods

Seventy-five patients with a distal radial fracture were treated using a volar plate between February 2010 and February 2016 (33 men and 42 women; mean age 40.9 ± 9.4 years). Forty-four patients had ulnar styloid fractures (Group A) and 31 patients did not (Group B). There were no differences between the two groups with regard to sex, age, course of the disease and fracture type (P > 0.05).


The mean follow-up time was 21 months. There were no differences between the groups in palmar tilt, radial inclination and radial length when the distal radial fractures had healed (P > 0.05). At the final follow-up visit, the two groups were similar in terms of wrist motion range, and grip and pinch strength (P > 0.05). The Gartland–Werley scores were 13 for excellent, 26 for good, 3 for fair and 2 for poor (excellence rate 89%) for Group A, and 10 for excellent, 17 for good, 2 for fair and 2 for poor (excellence rate 87%) for Group B. The difference between the two groups was not significant (Z = − 0.097, P = 0.922).


After open reduction and plate fixation of distal radial fractures, if stability of the distal radioulnar joint is achieved, untreated ulnar styloid fractures have no impact on wrist joint function.

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Availability of Supporting Data

The data sets supporting the results of this article are included within the article and its additional files.


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Author information

Conceived the design of the study: SL and BS. Performed the research: JH and HW. Analyzed the data: HL and KS. Contributed new methods or models: HW and BL. Wrote the paper: SL. Contributed equally to the study: SL and DY. Read and approved the content of the final manuscript: all authors.

Correspondence to Dong Yin.

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The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed. The study was approved by the Hospital Ethics Committee.

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Written informed consent for publication of their clinical details and/or clinical images was obtained from the patient. A copy of the consent form is available for review by the Editor of this journal.

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Li, S., Wang, H., Su, B. et al. Impact of Ulnar Styloid Fractures on the Treatment Effect of Distal Radius Fractures with Volar Plate Fixation: A Case Control Study. JOIO 54, 75–82 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43465-019-00016-2

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  • Distal radial fracture
  • Ulnar styloid fracture
  • Volar plate fixation
  • Wrist function
  • Treatment
  • Case–control study