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Contemp Orthop. 1994 May;28(5):403-10.

Outcome assessment following limited wrist fusion: objective wrist scoring versus patient satisfaction.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Eighteen nonrheumatoid patients were reviewed an average of 4.4 years following limited wrist fusion to evaluate whether patient satisfaction or objective wrist scoring more closely correlated with functional outcome. Range of motion, grip strength, pain relief, radiographs, and patient satisfaction were assessed by examination and interview, and each wrist was scored based on a clinical scoring system described by Cooney. Twelve patients (67%) were very satisfied with their results, and six (33%) were dissatisfied. Thirteen (72%) experienced good pain relief, 12 of whom denied functional restrictions. Six patients (33%) reported suboptimal wrist function, and four indicated they had inadequate pain relief. Despite high levels of satisfaction in 12 patients, the objective wrist scores were only fair and poor. These low wrist scores unreliably reflected functional outcome. Patient self-assessment of wrist performance, however, was uniformly predictive. Pain relief was more critical to patient satisfaction than residual range of motion. Therefore, compared to objective wrist scoring, consideration of patient satisfaction may allow more accurate prediction and assessment of functional outcome following limited wrist fusion. Satisfactory postoperative function appears to be more dependent on pain relief than residual motion.

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