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Use of external fixation for perilunate dislocations and fracture dislocations

Olga D Savvidou, Michael Beltsios, Vasileios I Sakellariou, Andreas F Mavrogenis, Michael Christodoulou, Panayiotis J Papagelopoulos
Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction 2014, 9 (3): 141-8
The purpose of this study was to review clinical and radiographic outcomes of perilunate dislocations and fracture dislocations treated with external fixation and K-wire fixation. Twenty patients (18 males and two females) with a mean age of 38 years (range 18-59) who had an acute dorsal perilunate dislocation or fracture dislocation were treated with the use of wrist external fixator and K-wires. The injuries included 12 perilunate dislocations, seven trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture dislocations, and one trans-styloid perilunate fracture dislocation. The median time from trauma to operation was 8 h (2-12 h). Indirect reduction via ligamentotaxis was achieved in all perilunate dislocation, and provisional K-wire fixation was added. In five of seven trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture dislocations, indirect reduction was achieved; whereas in the other two as well as in the case of trans-styloid perilunate fracture dislocation, open reduction was required. External fixator was supplemented with K-wires for stabilization of the fractures and the intercarpal intervals. The interosseous and capsular ligaments were not repaired, even after open reduction of fracture dislocations. The mean follow-up was 39 months (range 18-68 months). Range of motion and grip strength were measured. Cooney's scoring system was used for the assessment of clinical function. Radiographic evaluation included time to scaphoid union, measurement of radiographic parameters (scapholunate gap, scapholunate angle, lunotriquetral gap, and carpal height ratio) and any development of arthritis. The flexion-extension motion arc and grip strength of the injured wrist averaged 80 and 88%, respectively, of the corresponding values for the contralateral wrists. According to Cooney's clinical scoring system, overall functional outcomes were rated as excellent in four patients, good in eight, fair in six, and poor in two. Eighteen patients returned to their former occupations. Two patients with a trans-scaphoid perilunate injury developed nonunion of the scaphoid; one of them required scaphoid excision and midcarpal fusion. Two patients had radiographic evidence of arthritis. The use of external fixation and provisional K-wire fixation for the treatment of acute perilunate dislocations is associated with satisfactory midterm functional and radiographic outcomes. This minimally invasive treatment option is simple, reliable, and minimally invasive method that provides proper restoration and stable fixation of carpal alignment.

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