Background: The most effective type of plate fixation for diaphyseal
forearm fractures has not been defined. We performed a prospective, randomized
trial in which the limited contact dynamic compression plate (LC-DCP) was
compared with the Point Contact Fixator (PC-Fix) for the treatment of forearm
fractures at one center.
Methods: Ninety-two patients with 125 forearm fractures were
recruited for the study and were randomly assigned to fracture fixation with
one of the two devices. The average age of the patients was thirty-six years.
The average duration of follow-up was twenty-two months. Patients were
assessed periodically with use of radiographs and were assessed with regard to
pain and function at time of the latest follow-up.
Results: Three patients (four fractures) in the PC-Fix group and
five patients (five fractures) in the LC-DCP group had a delayed union, but no
patient in either group had a nonunion. With the numbers available, there was
no significant difference between the two groups with regard to operative
time, time to union, callus formation, pain, or functional outcome. Deep
infection occurred in one patient with a closed fracture in the PC-Fix group
and in one patient with an open fracture in the LC-DCP group. In addition, one
refracture occurred in each group. Both refractures occurred at the site of a
Conclusion: Despite the differences in the concept of fracture
fixation, these two implants appear to be equally effective for the treatment
of diaphyseal forearm fractures.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level I-1b
(randomized controlled trial [no significant difference but narrow confidence
intervals]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels