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J Hand Surg Am. 2012 Sep;37(9):1942-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2012.06.029.

Kienböck disease.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Kienböck disease, or osteonecrosis of the lunate, is a progressive disease process that can lead to wrist pain and dysfunction. Although it was described over 100 years ago, and advances have been made in understanding this disease, the precise etiology remains uncertain. Anatomic, mechanical, vascular, and traumatic factors have been suggested to contribute to the disease. The natural history is unknown, and radiographic and clinical findings do not always correlate. Progress has been made in recognizing the progression of the avascular process and its deleterious effects on wrist mechanics. Initial treatment is nonsurgical, and it remains unclear whether surgical intervention results in improved outcomes over nonoperative treatment. Traditional surgical procedures such as radial shortening osteotomy and proximal row carpectomy have been shown to be reliable treatment options for relieving pain and improving function. Newer procedures such as pedicled bone grafts from the distal radius may improve direct revascularization of the lunate in earlier stages of the disease, potentially arresting the progression of collapse. Additional data are necessary to determine with certainty whether this type of procedure represents an improvement over the traditional treatment alternatives. Kienböck disease remains a challenging problem for hand surgeons.

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