Background: Radioscapholunate (RSL) fusion is performed for painful radiocarpal arthritis that is typically posttraumatic or inflammatory in nature. The purpose of this study was to determine whether patients with inflammatory conditions undergoing RSL fusion had comparable outcomes as those with posttraumatic arthritis and to determine factors impacting union. Methods: This was a retrospective review of all RSL fusions over a 25-year period. Demographic information, wrist range of motion, postoperative complications, and surgical technique, including presence or absence of resection of distal scaphoid pole, data were collected. Radiographs were examined for evidence of healing of the RSL fusion site as well as development of midcarpal arthritis. Results: Fifty-six patients underwent RSL fusion. Eight patients required revision of radiocarpal arthrodesis for painful nonunion. The fusion rate was 85.7%, and median 25th to 75th percentile (time to healing was 4.0 3.2-5.2) months. There were no differences in time to or rate of union by inflammatory arthropathy status. Grip strength increased significantly and pain decreased significantly with surgery. Union rate was 90% with the use of K-wires, screws, or staples, which was significantly greater than plates, fusion cups, or multiple implant types. The use of autologous bone graft significantly decreased the rate of nonunion and significantly decreased time to union by 3 months compared to allograft alone. Extension was significantly improved with scaphoid distal pole resection versus without distal scaphoid pole resection. Conclusions: Radioscapholunate (RSL) fusion is an effective treatment for radiocarpal arthritis but has high nonunion rates. Fixation with K-wires, screws, or staples and use of autograft confers improved union rate.
- wrist arthritis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine