Arthroscopic debridement of the dorsal capsule in intraarticular distal radius fractures: does it provide superior outcomes?

Distal radius fractures (DRFs) are very common. One of the most significant complications after intraarticular DRF is arthrofibrosis with loss of wrist motion and pain. Wrist arthroscopy has become increasingly popular in the treatment of DRF with the advantage of good visualization of the joint surface and soft tissue injuries. In intraarticular DRFs injuries of the dorsal capsule are a characteristic finding which potentially cause loss of wrist motion. In this study, we investigated if arthroscopic debridement of dorsal capsule injuries at time of surgical fixation provides superior outcomes compared to the same treatment without debridement./r/nBetween 2013 and 2017, we included 42 patients who underwent arthroscopy-assisted palmar plating for intraarticular DRFs in a prospective randomized controlled study. In group A (intervention group), the dorsal capsule tears were debrided during primary surgery, while in group B these were left in place. Active range of motion (AROM), grip strength, subjective outcomes and radiographic results were assessed 3, 6 and 12 months after primary surgery. A subgroup analysis was performed for patient age, fracture severity and duration of immobilization./r/nArthroscopic debridement of the dorsal capsule improved AROM in patients over 60 years of age, more severe fractures (AO 23 C2/C3) and prolonged postoperative immobilization for more than two weeks, while it was not relevant for younger patients with simple fractures and short immobilization./r/nDebridement of the injured dorsal capsule in arthroscopic-assisted surgical treatment of intraarticular DRFs can improve surgical performance and optimize patient outcomes in a specific subgroup of patients.