[Case-control study on two osteotomy techniques for the treatment of distal radial malunion]

Bing-bing Zhang, Zhi-guo Yuan, Jian-jun Shao, Shi-ning Yang, Xi-ping Chai
Zhongguo Gu Shang, China Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology 2015, 28 (7): 622-7

OBJECTIVE: Radial corrective osteotomy is an established but challenging treatment for distal radial malunion. There is an ongoing discussion about whether an opening or closing-wedge osteotomy between should employed. The purpose of the present study was to retrospectively compare the clinical and radio graphic results between conventional opening-wedge osteotomy and closing-wedge technique.

METHODS: From January 2004 and December 2012,42 patients with extra-articular distal radial malunion were managed with corrective osteotomy and were followed for a minimum of one year. Twenty-two patients (5 males and 17 females, ranging in age from 25 to 75 years old) were managed with radial opening-wedge osteotomy and implanting of interpositional bone graft or bone-graft substitute, and twenty patients (4 males and 16 females, ranging in age from 19 to 79 years) 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 radio graphic measurements, and functional outcomes were determined on the basis of clinical examinations, 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 36 months (ranged, 12 to 101 months) for the opening-wedge cohort and 28 months (ranged, 12 to 87 months) for the closing-wedge cohort. The two techniques were comparable in terms of complications. Post-operative volar tilt and ulnar variance were improved significantly in each cohort. The ulnar variance was more frequently restored to within defined criteria (22.5 to 0.5 mm) in the closing-wedge cohort than that in the opening-wedge cohort. The post-operative mean extension-flexion are of the wrist and Mayo wrist score were significantly better in the closing-wedge cohort. Differences in the pronation-supination arc, grip strength, pain-rating score, and DASH scores between these two cohorts were not significant.

CONCLUSION: 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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