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J Hand Surg Am. 1990 May;15(3):426-30.

Proximal row carpectomy: clinical evaluation.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Allegheny General Hospital, Pa.


Proximal row carpectomy as a treatment of disorders of the radiocarpal joint remains controversial despite numerous reports documenting clinically successful outcomes. Criticism includes postoperative loss of grip strength, unsatisfactory range of motion, prolonged rehabilitation time, and the potential for progressive painful arthritis. Twenty-seven patients were studied to address these concerns. The average length of follow-up was 4 years. Postoperative pain relief was achieved in 26 patients, allowing 24 of the 27 patients to return to their previous activity status within an average of 4.5 months after surgery. In all cases, range of motion matched or surpassed preoperative values. Grip strength improved to an average of 80% of the contralateral side. A detailed radiographic analysis of the radii of curvature of the lunate fossa and the capitate showed that the radius of curvature of the capitate is approximately two thirds of the corresponding value of the lunate. Motion between the capitate and the radius is translational with a moving center of motion, which may dissipate load on the radius and explain the relative success of the procedure.

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