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Differences in Volar Plating Systems for Distal Radius Fractures: A Report on the Perceptions of Industry Representatives
Jason Hyunsuk Ko, MD; Andrew J. Watt, MD; Stephen A. Kennedy, MD; Lucie Krenek, MD; Jeffrey B. Friedrich, MD; University of Washington
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Introduction:†Recently, volar locking plates have become a primary fixation method for many distal radius fractures.† As a result, there has been an explosion of volar plating systems on the market, and now surgeons have a multitude of volar plating systems from which to choose. †While surgeon preference and facility availability will determine which plating system is used in the operating room, the influence of industry representatives on which plates are chosen can be substantial.† Given the impact that industry representatives can potentially have on surgeon preference, we wished to evaluate the differences in volar plating systems as perceived by industry representatives.

Materials and Methods:†Questionnaires were completed by industry representatives at the 2012 annual meetings of a hand surgery and an orthopedic surgery society.† The surveys included numerous questions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the various volar plating systems, along with questions about competition within the industry and the preferences of the individual representative.

Results:† Fourteen industry representatives from 12 different companies with volar plating systems for distal radius fractures completed the surveys (Table).† When asked to provide 3 main advantages of their company's volar plating system over competing systems, 22 of the responsesórepresenting all 12 companiesóclaimed that their company's volar plating system possessed superior design.† Eleven of the 14 representatives stated that the DePuy (Hand Innovations) volar plating system was their company's chief competitor.† Thirteen of 14 representatives would want their company's system used on them if they required operative fixation of a distal radius fracture, and 13 also stated that they would feel comfortable having another company's plating system used on them.† However, 9 of the 13 stated that if another company's system were used on them, they would prefer that it be the DePuy system.

Conclusions:† Although a relatively small number of representatives completed our survey, we reached the following conclusions about volar plating systems as perceived within industry: (1) The majority of companies with volar plating systems believe that their company's design is superior to other systems; (2) the majority view DePuy as their chief competitor; and (3) the majority of industry representatives would prefer that DePuy's system be used to fix their own distal radius fracture, if their own company's system could not be used.† Further examination of the subjective and objective advantages and disadvantages of various volar plating systems is warranted.

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