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Trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture dislocations: results of screw fixation of the scaphoid and lunotriquetral repair with a dorsal approach.

PURPOSE: To review the clinical and radiographic outcome of dorsal trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture-dislocations treated with screw fixation of the scaphoid and repair of the lunotriquetral ligament with bone anchors.

METHODS: Twenty-five patients treated over an 11-year period for dorsal trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture-dislocations were reviewed retrospectively at a mean of 44.3 months. The mean age of the patients was 28.6 years, and 22 patients were men. Delay to surgery was 3.5 days. Five scaphoids had bone grafting from the distal radius. Six patients developed carpal tunnel syndrome requiring release. The functional outcome was determined by comparing the range of motion of the injured extremity with the uninjured extremity, grip strength, ability to return to pre-injury employment, and overall patient satisfaction. Radiographic evaluation comprised time to scaphoid union, any changes in the lunotriquetral interval, development of a volar intercalated segmental instability pattern, and any development of arthritis over time.

RESULTS: Total range of motion achieved was 91% of the uninjured wrist and grip strength was 80%. Average extension was 54 degrees with an average flexion of 60 degrees . Ulnar deviation was 23 degrees with radial deviation averaging 18 degrees . The average supination was 76 degrees and the average pronation was 76 degrees . All scaphoids united primarily. The average time to union of the scaphoid was 16 weeks. For those scaphoids with bone grafting the union time was an average of 18.4 weeks. The average postreduction lunotriquetral gap was 1.8 +/- 0.4 mm. The average lunotriquetral gap at the last follow-up evaluation was 1.9 +/- 0.6 mm. None of the patients developed a volar intercalated segmental instability deformity. All but 2 patients returned to their pre-injury occupation. All patients, however, returned to some type of employment. Complications included 1 superficial pin track infection that resolved with removal of the pin and a short course of oral antibiotics.

CONCLUSIONS: A dorsal approach to the wrist provides adequate exposure for reduction of carpal bones, internal fixation of the scaphoid, and lunotriquetral repair. Although perilunate fracture-dislocations are challenging problems to treat, all of the patients had acceptable pain relief and achieved sufficient range of motion and strength to return to gainful employment.

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