Distal Radioulnar Achilles Allograft Interposition Arthroplasty: Does It Solve the Problem of Persistent Pain?

Anthony J. Archual, Brent R. DeGeorge, Alexander Y. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Pain and instability following distal ulnar resection for distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) arthritis is a problem without a clear solution. We investigated the outcomes of DRUJ interposition arthroplasty for the management of symptomatic radioulnar convergence. Methods: A retrospective review was performed for all patients who underwent Achilles tendon allograft interposition arthroplasty following the failure of distal ulna resection between October 2009 and January 2015. Records were reviewed for demographics, comorbidities, surgical history, pre- and postoperative pain, range of motion, grip strength, and complications. Radiographs and computed tomography scans were evaluated for distal radioulnar instability, distal ulnar absorption, ulnar scalloping, radioulnar convergence, and allograft subluxation. Reconstructive failure was defined as the presence of moderate-to-severe persistent distal radioulnar pain, instability with radiographic evidence of radioulnar convergence or allograft subluxation on radiographs or computed tomography scans, or the need for revision arthroplasty procedure. Results: Ten patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 49 ± 10 years. The average follow-up after interposition arthroplasty was 76 ± 23 months. The preoperative means of grip strength, arc of pronosupination, flexion, and extension were similar after surgery. The mean arc of pronosupination improved by 26.5°, and the wrist flexion-extension arc in patients without arthrodesis improved by 22.6°. The grip strength increased by 1.7 kg. Seven of 10 patients had continued symptoms of pain and instability related to symptomatic allograft subluxation and/or radioulnar convergence. Five patients underwent revision surgery; the mean time to revision was 26 months. Conclusions: Mid- to long-term follow-up of patients after salvage allograft interposition arthroplasty of the DRUJ resulted in minimal functional improvement in terms of arc of motion and grip strength. Persistent radioulnar pain was common, with half of the patients requiring revision operations following allograft interposition. Given this high failure rate, alternative procedures should be considered for the management of chronic pain and instability of the DRUJ. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623.e1-623.e8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Achilles interposition
  • allograft
  • failed Darrach
  • radioulnar convergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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