The advent of improved surgical instrumentation and advances in healthcare have driven the rapidly evolving field of orthopedics. There has been a trend toward minimally invasive surgery in order to improve cosmesis, minimize soft tissue trauma, and allow superior fracture healing by minimally disturbing the biological environment around the fracture. Minimally invasive joint replacement surgery, arthroscopic surgery, and locking screw technology have been some of the newer developments in orthopedics that have significantly altered patient care and potentially the outcomes that can be achieved. In this regard, fractures of the distal radius have also been reexamined to see if minimally invasive surgery would be possible in treating this increasingly common fracture of the upper extremity and one of the leading reasons for visits to the emergency room.
Standard treatment for distal radius fractures not too long ago was cast immobilization. Closed reduction and percutaneous pinning and external fixation were some of the earlier methods used to treat fractures of the distal radius.1,2 However, there were limits to the types of fractures that could be treated closed, leading to increasing recognition of the importance of restoring articular congruity and fracture alignment.3,4 This needed to be done in an open fashion, and open reduction and internal fixation became much more common. Various types of plate and screw constructs were used to treat fractures of the distal radius. Plates were applied internally to the distal radius, as the idea of rigid fracture fixation with an internal implant was appealing to surgeon and patient alike.5
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