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J Orthop Trauma. 2012 Apr;26(4):241-5. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31821f940a.

Long-term results of scaphoid nonunion surgery: 50 patients reviewed after 8 to 18 years.

Author information

1
Hand and Microsurgery Section, Orthopaedic Department, Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway. ole.reigstad@gmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Untreated scaphoid nonunions are a hazard to the wrist, resulting in deteriorating function and radiologic degenerative changes with increasing time. Long-term results after surgery of scaphoid nonunion reporting clinical, radiologic, and subjective outcomes are scarce.

DESIGN:

Retrospective follow-up study.

PATIENTS:

From 1990 to 1998, 53 patients were operated on for persistent scaphoid nonunion; three patients were excluded from the follow-up (one expelled foreigner, another died of an unrelated cause, one never appeared after surgery), leaving 50 patients eligible for follow-up.

INTERVENTION:

All patients were operated on with open reduction and internal fixation; the majority also received a bone graft.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:

Radiology and computed tomography verified union, degenerative wrist changes, and final salvage treatment. Range of motion, grip strength, key pinch, and subjective outcome (QuickDASH, visual analog scale).

RESULTS:

Fifty patients were followed up after a mean of 12.2 years (standard deviation [SD], 3.0), 47 by clinical and radiologic examination; three were interviewed by telephone and completed QuickDASH and visual analog scale forms. Union was achieved in 45 of 50 scaphoids and an additional two after a second attempt. Five patients (one persistent and four healed nonunions) underwent salvage procedures. Grip strength (41 vs 45 kg, P = nonsignificant), key pinch (11.5 vs 12.4, P = nonsignificant), and active range of motion (186° vs 214°, P < 0.001) were slightly reduced compared with the uninjured side. The subjective outcome was good (mean visual analog scale = 7, mean QuickDASH = 9.1). Minor degenerative changes were seen in nine wrists at surgery and 22 at follow-up.

CONCLUSION:

Healing of a scaphoid nonunion provides long-term pain relief, excellent wrist function, and halts degenerative changes in the majority of patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

PMID:
21918482
DOI:
10.1097/BOT.0b013e31821f940a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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