COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Clinical outcomes of corrective osteotomy for distal radial malunion: a review of opening and closing-wedge techniques

Takuro Wada, Masahiro Tatebe, Yasuhiro Ozasa, Osamu Sato, Tomoko Sonoda, Hitoshi Hirata, Toshihiko Yamashita
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2011 September 7, 93 (17): 1619-26
21915577

BACKGROUND: Radial corrective osteotomy is an established but challenging treatment for distal radial malunion. There is ongoing discussion over whether an opening or closing-wedge osteotomy should be employed. The purpose of the present study was to retrospectively compare the clinical and radiographic results of conventional opening-wedge osteotomy with those of our closing-wedge technique.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated forty-two patients with extra-articular distal radial malunion who were managed with corrective osteotomy and were followed for a minimum of one year. Twenty-two patients were managed with radial opening-wedge osteotomy and interpositional bone graft or bone-graft substitute, and twenty were managed with simultaneous radial closing-wedge and ulnar shortening osteotomy without bone graft. The selection of the surgical procedure was determined by the surgeon. Each patient was evaluated on the basis of objective radiographic measurements and functional outcomes as determined on the basis of clinical examination, including range of wrist motion, grip strength, pain-rating score, Mayo wrist score, and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score.

RESULTS: The mean duration of follow-up was thirty-six months (range, twelve to 101 months) for the opening-wedge cohort and twenty-eight months (range, twelve to eighty-seven months) for the closing-wedge cohort. The two techniques were comparable in terms of complications. Postoperative volar tilt and ulnar variance improved significantly compared with the preoperative status in each cohort (p < 0.05). Restoration of ulnar variance to within defined criteria (-2.5 to 0.5 mm) was significantly more frequent in the closing-wedge cohort than in the opening-wedge cohort (p < 0.001). The postoperative mean extension-flexion arc of the wrist (p < 0.001) and Mayo wrist score (p = 0.008) were significantly better in the closing-wedge cohort. Differences between the two cohorts in terms of the pronation-supination arc, grip strength, pain-rating score, and DASH scores were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: The closing-wedge osteotomy technique is an effective reconstructive procedure for the treatment of extra-articular distal radial malunion. It is significantly better than the opening-wedge osteotomy technique in terms of the restoration of ulnar variance, the extension-flexion arc of wrist motion, and the Mayo wrist score.

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