The bone & joint journal

Effect of early administration of alendronate after surgery for distal radial fragility fracture on radiological fracture healing time.

PMID 24151277


This multicentre prospective clinical trial aimed to determine whether early administration of alendronate (ALN) delays fracture healing after surgical treatment of fractures of the distal radius. The study population comprised 80 patients (four men and 76 women) with a mean age of 70 years (52 to 86) with acute fragility fractures of the distal radius requiring open reduction and internal fixation with a volar locking plate and screws. Two groups of 40 patients each were randomly allocated either to receive once weekly oral ALN administration (35 mg) within a few days after surgery and continued for six months, or oral ALN administration delayed until four months after surgery. Postero-anterior and lateral radiographs of the affected wrist were taken monthly for six months after surgery. No differences between groups was observed with regard to gender (p = 1.0), age (p = 0.916), fracture classification (p = 0.274) or bone mineral density measured at the spine (p = 0.714). The radiographs were assessed by three independent assessors. There were no significant differences in the mean time to complete cortical bridging observed between the ALN group (3.5 months (SE 0.16)) and the no-ALN group (3.1 months (SE 0.15)) (p = 0.068). All the fractures healed in the both groups by the last follow-up. Improvement of the Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) score, grip strength, wrist range of movement, and tenderness over the fracture site did not differ between the groups over the six-month period. Based on our results, early administration of ALN after surgery for distal radius fracture did not appear to delay fracture healing times either radiologically or clinically.