Summary: Patients with low appendicular lean mass plus slow gait speed or weak grip strength are at risk for poor functional recovery after surgery for distal radius fracture, even when they have similar radiologic outcomes. Introduction: Loss of skeletal muscle mass and consequent loss in muscle function associate with aging, and this condition negatively impacts the activities of daily living and increases elderly individuals’ frailty to falls. Thus, patients with low appendicular lean mass would show different functional recovery compared to those without this condition after surgery for distal radius fracture (DRF). This study compares the functional outcomes after surgery for DRF in patients with or without low appendicular lean mass plus slowness or weakness. Methods: A total of 157 patients older than 50 years of age with a DRF treated via volar plate fixation were enrolled in this prospective study. A definition of low appendicular lean mass with slowness or weakness was based on the consensus of the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia. The researchers compared functional assessments (wrist range of motion and Michigan Hand Questionnaire [MHQ]) and radiographic assessments (radial inclination, volar tilt, ulnar variance, and articular congruity) 12 months after surgery between patients with and without low appendicular lean mass plus slowness or weakness. Multivariable regression analyses were performed to determine whether appendicular lean mass, grip strength, gait speed, patient demographic, or injury characteristics accounted for the functional outcomes. Results: Patients with low appendicular lean mass plus slowness or weakness showed a significantly lower recovery of MHQ score than those in the control group throughout 12 months. There was no significant difference in the range of motion between the groups. The radiologic outcomes showed no significant difference between groups in terms of volar tilt, radial inclination, or ulnar variance. According to multivariable regression analysis, the poor recovery of MHQ score was associated with an increase in age, weak grip strength, and lower appendicular lean mass, and these three factors accounted for 37% of the variation in the MHQ scores. Conclusion: Patients with low appendicular lean mass plus slowness or weakness are at risk for poor functional recovery after surgery for DRF, even when they have similar radiologic outcomes.
- Distal radius fracture
- Surgical outcome