J Wrist Surg 2020; 09(02): 177-184
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1694063
Survey or Meta-analysis
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Dorsal Bridge Plating versus External Fixation for Distal Radius Fractures

William L. Wang
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University and the Rothman Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Asif M. Ilyas
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University and the Rothman Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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15. Dezember 2018

25. Juni 2019

08. August 2019 (online)


Background External fixation and dorsal bridge plating are wrist spanning fixation options for distal radius fractures; however, their comparative effectiveness is not well understood. A meta-analysis was conducted to compare the clinical outcomes between these two techniques.

Materials and Methods A PubMed database query of all distal radius fracture cases managed with spanning external fixation or dorsal bridge plating was performed. A total of 28 articles met inclusion criteria, yielding 895 patients for data extraction and comparative analysis.

Results Dorsal bridge plating demonstrated lower rates of infection (2 vs. 10%, p = 0.05) and complex regional pain syndrome (1 vs. 4%, p = 0.04) but higher rates of hardware failure (4 vs. 1%, p = 0.026). Bridge plating also demonstrated higher rates of excellent/good ratings under the Gartland and Werley outcome score (91 vs. 83%, p = 0.016). There was no significant difference in DASH (Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Wrist) scores, radiographic parameters, or unplanned reoperations between the two spanning fixation options.

Conclusion Bridge plating and external fixation both appear to be comparable for spanning fixation constructs for distal radius fractures, but with bridge plating having a potentially lower complication profile.


This study was conducted at Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.

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