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Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2011;45(6):393-8. doi: 10.3944/AOTT.2011.2566.

The effect of excisional arthroplasty with palmaris longus tendon on carpal height ratio in Stage 3 Kienböck's disease.

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Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey.



Treatment methods in Kienböck's disease remain controversial despite the long-term awareness of the disease by orthopedic surgeons. Currently, excisional arthroplasty with a palmaris longus tendon ball is one of the most frequently used treatment methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term results of thirty-eight patients who had been treated with excisional arthroplasty and palmaris longus tendon ball, as well as the effect of this method on carpal height.


In this study, we retrospectively evaluated 38 patients (mean age: 30.4 years; range: 17-64 years) with Stage 3 Kienböck's disease who underwent excisional arthroplasty between 1978 and 2008. According to the Lichtman classification, 8 patients were classified as Stage 3a and 30 patients were classified as Stage 3b in Kienböck's disease. The mean duration of follow-up after surgery was 81.3 (range: 25 to 264) months. The outcomes were evaluated with joint range of motion, grip strength and functional assessment of Nakamura and radiographic changes in carpal height.


According to the Nakamura's scoring system the results were excellent in 22 (57.9%) patients, good in 13 (34.2%) and moderate in 3 (7.9%). Comparison of pre and postoperative range of motion of the wrist revealed an average increase in wrist extension of 10° (p<0.05), and an average decrease in ulnar deviation of 4° (p<0.05) after the operation. No significant difference was observed when comparing other joint range of motion parameters. Dynamometric grip strength measurements revealed significant differences between the healthy and operated sides (67.6 kgf vs. 45.9 kgf, respectively; p<0.05). The decrease in the revised carpal height ratio were significant.


According to patient satisfaction rate and clinical results, the outcome of excisional arthroplasty with palmaris longus tendon ball in Stage 3 Kienböck's disease is satisfactory. However, carpal height reduction and development of degenerative changes may be expected in long-term follow-up.

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