Volar locking plating (VLP) is the mainstay of treatment for distal radius fracture (DRF) but may be compromised by postoperative surgical site infection (SSI). This study aimed to identify the incidence and the risk factors for SSI following VLP of DRF.
This retrospective study identified consecutive patients who underwent VLP for closed unstable DRFs in our institution between January 2015 and June 2021. Postoperative SSI was identified by inquiring the medical records, the follow-up records or the readmission medical records for treatment of SSI. The potential factors for SSI were extracted from the medical records. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the independent factors.
There were 930 patients included, and 34 had an SSI, representing an incidence of 3.7% (95% CI 2.4-4.9%). Patients with an SSI had threefold extended hospitalization stay (44.1 ± 38.2 versus 14.4 ± 12.5 days) as did those without. In univariate analysis, 18 variables were tested to be statistically different between SSI and non-SSI group. In multivariate analysis, 6 factors were identified as independently associated with SSI, including sex (male vs. female, OR 3.5, p = 0.014), ASA (III and IV vs. I, OR 3.2, p = 0.031), smoking (yes vs. no, OR 2.4, p = 0.015), bone grafting (OR 4.0, p = 0.007), surgeon volume (low vs. high, OR 2.7, p 0.011) and operation at night-time (vs. day-time, OR 7.8, p < 0.001).
The postoperative SSI of VLP of DRF was not uncommon, and the factors identified in this study, especially those modifiable, would help identify individual SSI risk, target clinical surveillance and inform patient counseling.

© 2022. The Author(s).