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


There is an high incidence of failures of total wrist arthroplasties. We review our experiences in revising total wrist implant arthroplasties to arthrodeses. The most common mode of failure of the arthroplasties in our series was metacarpal loosening with dorsal perforation of the stem. Loosening of the proximal stem, progressive mal-position of the wrist and other causes appeared.

We used for the revision arthrodesis in all our cases tricortical iliac crest bone grafts and additional spongiosa transplants from this donor site region. In one case we used a vascularized iliac crest bone graft to bridge the bone defect because of a bad host quality of the recipient area. Fixation was achieved with plates and screws.

Our average follow-up period was 32 month. 40 patients with 41 failed wrist implants (3 different types) were treated with this technique. 40 wrist undergoing arthrodesis attained a solid painless fusion after a single operation. In one case a non-union with a loosening of the screws due to using a non-rigid plate was seen. In this case a revision was necessary to achieve a bone healing. All patients were satisfied, pain free and achieved an increased pinch and grip strength after bony fusion (measured with Yamar-Vigorimeter). A persisting loss of carpal height was seen in all cases.

Arthrodesis after failed total wrist arthroplasty is a satisfactory salvage procedure even in cases with a bad quality of the recipient area. We recommend a rigid fixation technique to prevent non-unions.

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