BACKGROUND: To analyze clinical outcomes after anatomical reconstruction of distal radioulnar ligaments in patients with chronic post-traumatic instability of the distal radioulnar joint.
METHODS: Anatomical reconstruction was performed in 16 patients with subluxation or dynamic instability of distal radioulnar joint following trauma. Osteotomy was performed simultaneously in 10 patients with radial malunion. The average follow-up period was 18.9 months. For clinical outcome assessment, we performed the anteroposterior stress test, measured the range of motion and grip strength, and performed radiological examination. For assessment of the pain and function, we used the Patient Rated Wrist Evaluation, the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand, and the Modified Mayo Wrist Score.
RESULTS: Anteroposterior stress test performed at the last follow-up showed normal in 12 patients, mild laxity in 3, and residual subluxation in one. The average Patient Rated Wrist Evaluation was 9.1 for pain and 11.2 for function. The average Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score was 10.5. The average Modified Mayo Wrist Score was 92.8; there were 10 excellent, 5 good, and 1 poor case. The average grip strength improved from 69.7 1b to 80.9 1b. A revision osteotomy was performed on the patient with residual subluxation in order to obtain normal alignment of the joint.
CONCLUSIONS: Anatomical reconstruction of the distal radioulnar ligaments is recommended to restore distal radioulnar joint stability. In addition to ligament reconstruction, realignment of the distal radioulnar joint seems critical when the instability is combined with malunion of the radius.
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