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The Association of Radial Deficiency with Thumb Hypoplasia
Michelle A. James, MD1; Hillary D. Green, MD1; H. Relton McCarrollJr., MD1; Paul R. Manske, MD2
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California, 2425 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95817. E-mail address for M.A. James: mjames@shrinenet.org
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8233, St. Louis, MO 63110
View Disclosures and Other Information
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.
Investigation performed at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Northern California, Sacramento, California

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 Oct 01;86(10):2196-2205
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Background: Congenital longitudinal deficiencies of the radius and thumb are known to be associated with one another; however, the details of their relationship are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine whether increased severity of radial deficiencies is associated with increased severity of thumb deficiencies and to review the relationship between radial deficiency and reconstructibility of a hypoplastic thumb.

Methods: Radiographs and charts of 227 affected upper extremities of 139 patients with radial longitudinal deficiency were reviewed. The associated thumb deficiency was classified according to a modification of the Blauth and Schneider-Sickert scheme and the radial deficiency was classified according to a modification of the Bayne and Klug criteria for 191 extremities of 119 patients.

Results: The severity of the thumb deficiency was directly proportional to the severity of the radial deficiency (p < 0.0001). Half of the extremities had either a thumb deficiency or thumb and carpal deficiencies without radial deficiency. Two-thirds (sixty-three) of the ninety-five limbs with a normal radius had a thumb that could be surgically reconstructed. Seventy-one (91%) of seventy-eight extremities with a thumb amenable to surgical reconstruction had a radius that did not require surgical reconstruction. All extremities with a radial and/or carpal deficiency had a thumb deficiency. Forty-eight (94%) of fifty-one extremities with complete absence of the radius had a thumb that was not reconstructible.

Conclusions: This study supports the growing body of evidence that the components of radial longitudinal deficiency represent a progressive spectrum of upper extremity abnormalities, and a distal progression of severity, with distal structures likely to be more involved than proximal structures.

Level of Evidence: Prognostic study, Level II-1 (retrospective study). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures in this Article


    thumb ; radius
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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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