Perilunate fracture-dislocations of the wrist: comparison of temporary screw versus K-wire fixation

J Sebastiaan Souer, Marijn Rutgers, Jonas Andermahr, Jesse B Jupiter, David Ring
Journal of Hand Surgery 2007, 32 (3): 318-25

PURPOSE: Temporary intercarpal screw fixation has been suggested as an alternative to temporary K-wire fixation in the treatment of perilunate wrist dislocations. We compared the 2 treatment methods in 2 retrospective cohorts with a null hypothesis that there would be no difference in final wrist motion.

METHODS: Eighteen patients with surgically treated perilunate wrist dislocations (9 treated with intercarpal screws, 9 with intercarpal K-wires) were evaluated an average of 44 months after injury. The intercarpal screws were removed an average of 5 months and the K-wires an average of 3 months after the initial procedure. Complications included 3 pin track infections (1 with wrist sepsis), 2 scaphoid nonunions (screw fixation), and 2 patients with loss of reduction (K-wire fixation) treated with repeat surgery.

RESULTS: Four patients (2 in each cohort) had wrist arthrodesis with poor results. Among the 14 remaining patients the final flexion arc was 97 degrees for patients treated with screw fixation compared with 73 degrees for patients treated with K-wires. The mean grip strength was 74% (screw fixation) and 67% (K-wire) that of the uninjured arm. According to the Mayo Modified Wrist Score, the functional result was excellent in 1 patient (screw), good in 2 patients (1 each group), fair in 6 patients (3 in each group), and poor in 9 patients (4 screws, 5 K-wire). Seven patients (2 screws, 5 K-wires) had grade 2 or 3 midcarpal arthritis according to the criteria of Knirk and Jupiter, but none had more than mild radiocarpal arthritis.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of treatment with temporary screws are comparable to the results of treatment with temporary K-wires.


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