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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Hand surgery is rarely indicated in children with arthritis, but presents specific problems. The initial diagnosis can be difficult due to discrete clinical symptoms and limited radiological signs. A decreased wrist extension or finger joint stiffness can be early signs of arthritis in a child. Destruction of joint surfaces are difficult to evaluate since many skeletal parts in the hand, e.g. the carpal bones, are still not ossified in young children. Accelerated skeletal maturation can often be the only radiological sign of an active synovitis in the joint. The hands and wrists are often involved at an early stage of juvenile arthritis and different growth disturbances may occur, the most commonly seen is a shortening of the distal ulna. Surgery itself may also affect growth. When performing soft tissue surgery, like synovectomies or arthrolyses on the juvenile arthritic hand, a significant risk of postoperative joint stiffness has to be considered. Surgical treatment of arthritic hands in children are often delayed until adolescence, and doing any kind of surgery in a teenager is a difficult task which requires special attention and finesse. Personal experience from the Children’s Hospital in Lund, Sweden will be presented.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.