Scientific Article   |    
Proximal Radial Resection for Posttraumatic Radioulnar Synostosis: A New Technique to Improve Forearm Rotation
Srinath Kamineni, FRCS(Orth); N. G. Maritz, MMed(Orth), FCS(SA)(Orth); Bernard F. Morrey, MD
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Srinath Kamineni, FRCS(Orth)
Bernard F. Morrey, MD
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905

N.G. Maritz, MMed(Orth), FCS(SA)(Orth)
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pretoria, Pretoria Academic Hospital, Private Bag X169, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 May 01;84(5):745-751
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Background: Heterotopic ossification about the elbow joint can lead to considerable functional disability, including the loss of forearm rotation. Many procedures have been described for the treatment of proximal radioulnar synostosis. Varying degrees of success have been achieved with regard to the improvement of the flexion arc, but less success has been reported in terms of the restoration of forearm rotation. The success of treatment is associated with the extent of heterotopic ossification, soft-tissue scarring, and anatomical distortion. A new and simple technique to address the unresectable proximal radioulnar synostosis is described.

Methods: Seven patients were managed with a partial proximal radial resection distal to the synostosis and were followed for an average of eighty months (range, twenty-four to 144 months).

Results: Forearm rotation improved from an average fixed pronation of 5° to an average arc of 98° (range, 40° to 175°). The average functional score improved from 57 points preoperatively to 81 points at the time of the final review. Complications included reankylosis at the site of the resection and ulnar-nerve sensory neurapraxia in one patient each.

Conclusions: Resection of a 1-cm-thick section of the proximal part of the radial shaft provides a safe and reliable method of improving forearm rotation in patients with heterotopic ossification of the elbow. A single technical factor that seems to positively influence the result is the application of bone wax at the resection site. This simple procedure is ideally suited for patients who have a proximal radioulnar synostosis that (1) is too extensive to allow a safe and discrete resection, (2) involves the articular surface, and (3) is associated with an anatomical deformity.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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