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Matched hemiresection interposition arthroplasty of the distal radioulnar joint

Bain GI, Pugh DM, MacDermid JC, Roth JH

Department of Surgery, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Since 1986 the senior author has performed a matched hemiresection with retinacular/capsular interposition for patients with painful disorders of the distal radioulnar joint.

A retrospective review of 55 wrists was performed by an independent hand surgeon and hand therapist. Forty-nine of 54 wrists in the surviving patients were clinically and radiographically reviewed with an average follow-up interval of 36 months.

Subjective assessment included a visual analog rating of pain improvement and satisfaction with treatment.

Objective assessment included examination of range of motion, strength, stability, and standardized functional testing with the Jebsen and Minnesota Rate of Manipulation tests.

Thirty-five patients reported pain improvement and 41 patients were satisfied. The range of supination and pronation increased from 54 degrees and 67 degrees, respectively, to 72 degrees and 72 degrees. Functional ability as measured by the Jebsen test was similar to the contralateral wrist. Patients had most difficulty turning large objects. The clinical, objective, functional, and x-ray films results correlated poorly with pain improvement and patient satisfaction.

Complications included one infection, one reflex sympathetic dystrophy, one neuroma of the dorsal sensory branch of the ulnar nerve, and four cases of ulnar-carpal impaction. Pain relief was the primary determinant of patient satisfaction and should be considered the indication for surgery.

J Hand Surg [Am] 1995 Nov;20(6):944-50