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Tech Hand Up Extrem Surg. 2007 Mar;11(1):98-108.

Ulnar head replacement.

Author information

1
St Lukes Hospital Hand Unit, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. interfix@compuserve.com

Abstract

Recent years have seen an increasing awareness of the anatomical and biomechanical significance of the distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ). With this has come a more critical approach to surgical management of DRUJ disorders and a realization that all forms of "excision arthroplasty" can only restore forearm rotation at the expense of forearm stability. This, in turn, has led to renewed interest in prosthetic replacement of the ulnar head, a procedure that had previously fallen into disrepute because of material failures with early implants, in particular, the Swanson silicone ulnar head replacement. In response to these early failures, a new prosthesis was developed in the early 1990s, using materials designed to withstand the loads across the DRUJ associated with normal functional use of the upper limb. Released onto the market in 1995 (Herbert ulnar head prosthesis), clinical experience during the last 10 years has shown that this prosthesis is able to restore forearm function after ulnar head excision and that the materials (ceramic head and noncemented titanium stem), even with normal use of the limb, are showing no signs of failure in the medium to long term. As experience with the use of an ulnar head prosthesis grows, so does its acceptance as a viable and attractive alternative to more traditional operations, such as the Darrach and Sauve-Kapandji procedures. This article discusses the current indications and contraindications for ulnar head replacement and details the surgical procedure, rehabilitation, and likely outcomes.

PMID:
17536532
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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