Purpose To identify whether brachioradialis (BR) release during volar plate fixation for a distal radius fracture affects elbow flexion strength and wrist function.
Methods A total of 42 consecutive patients who were treated by open reduction volar plate fixation for unstable distal radius fractures were enrolled in this study. The BR was not released in 20 of 42 patients (BR preserved group) and was released in 22 patients (BR released group). The primary outcome variable was isokinetic strength and endurance testing of elbow flexion measured by the Cybex isokinetic system 3 months after surgery. Measured at the same time, secondary outcome variables were grip strength, a visual analog scale score for wrist pain, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score, and radiographic parameters. We used Mann-Whitney U tests to compare these variables between groups.
Results Neither elbow flexion strength and endurance nor any of the secondary outcome variables differed significantly between groups.
Conclusions Release of the BR during a volar approach for a distal radius fracture did not adversely affect elbow flexion strength and wrist function. Type of study/level of evidence Prognostic III.
- distal radius fracture
- elbow flexion strength
- volar plate