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J Hand Surg Am. 2001 Nov;26(6):1042-6.

Effects of forearm rotation on the clinical evaluation of ulnar variance.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Neutral rotation radiographs of the wrist are recommended to standardize the measurement of ulnar variance because it is known that changes in forearm rotation result in changes of this measurement. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are clinically measurable differences in ulnar variance between radiographs in various degrees of forearm rotation in human subjects. Forty-five wrist radiographs of 15 normal adults were obtained in 3 positions: maximum forearm pronation, neutral rotation, and maximum supination. The ulnar variance on each view was measured by 3 independent observers using a standard millimeter ruler. The average absolute difference in ulnar variance was 0.4 mm between pronation, 0.6 mm between pronation and supination, and 0.2 mm between neutral and supination. Although we found a statistically significant difference in ulnar variance between the pronated and neutral positions, this difference may not be clinically significant and may not justify concerns of forearm position during the radiographic evaluation of ulnar variance.

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