Dorsal Bridge Plate for Distal Radius Fractures: A Systematic Review

Austin B. Fares*, Benjamin R. Childs, Michael M. Polmear, Des Raj M. Clark, Leon J. Nesti, John C. Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study presents patient demographics, injury characteristics, outcomes, and complications associated with dorsal bridge plating (DBP) in the treatment of distal radius fractures. Methods: A literature search performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines identified 206 articles, 12 of which met inclusion criteria, accounting for 310 patients. Included articles contained the results of DBP for treatment of distal radius fractures with reported outcomes between 1988 and 2018. Data were pooled and analyzed focusing on patient demographics, as well as 3 primary outcomes of complications, range of motion (ROM), and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) and QuickDASH scores. Results: Average age was 55 years, median follow-up was 24 months, and the most common use was in comminuted (92%) intra-articular (92%) distal radius fracture caused by fall (58%), or motor vehicle collision or motorcycle collision (27%). A minority of patients had open fractures (16%) and most were cases of polytrauma (65%). Median time from placement to DBP removal was 17 weeks (mean, 119 days). At final follow-up, mean wrist ROM was 45° flexion, 50° extension, 75° pronation, and 73° supination. Mean DASH score was 26.1, and mean QuickDASH score was 19.8. The overall rate for any complication was 13%; the most common was hardware failure (3%) followed by symptomatic malunion or nonunion (3%), and persistent pain after hardware removal (2%). Conclusions: Dorsal bridge plating was found to be used most commonly in intra-articular, comminuted distal radius fractures with overall functional wrist ROM, moderate patient-reported disability, and a 13% complication rate at follow-up. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627.e1-627.e8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Distal radius fracture
  • distraction plate
  • dorsal bridge plate
  • internal radiocarpal distraction plate
  • spanning bridge plate


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