Mir H Ali, MD; Marco Rizzo, MD; Alexander Y Shin, MD and Steven L Moran, MD

Hand, 7(1), 72-78

Abstract: Introduction: Proximal row carpectomy (PRC) is a popular procedure for the treatmet of wrist arthritis; however, the long-term clinical outcomes of this procedure are not well characterized. The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term results with PRC and to identify factors that may improve clinical outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective study was performed on all patients who underwent proximal rowcarpectomy between January 1967 and January 1992. Medical records and available radiographs were reviewed. The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand and Patient Rated Wrist Exam, as well as hand motion diagrams were sent to all surviving patients. The contralateral extremity was used as a control. Data was analyzed using multivariant analysis and a Student’s t test.

Results: Eight-one patients underwent PRC. Average age at the time of surgery was 41 years. Average follow-up was 19.8 years. Sixty-one patients responded to the questionnaires. On final follow-up, wrist motion and grip strength were no significantly different from preoperative values. Radiographic follow-up beyond 2 years revealed joint narrowing and arthritic changes within the radiocapitate joint. Forty-six patients (74%) were not satisfied with the results of their surgery due to persistent pain or inability to return previous occupational activities. Fifty-two patients required daily pain medication for wrist pain. Twelve patients hand undergone a wrist arthrodesis.

Conclusions: Post-operative motion and grip strenght valued following PRC appear to remain stable over time. Surgical failure rates with conversion to wrist fusion occured early within the post-operative follow-up. Many patients continued to complain of pain requiring dialy medication and were unable to return to manual labor type jobs. The results of this study suggest that long-term patient satisfaction following PRC can be poor and the surgeon may wish to consider alternative treatment options for younger patients and those with high-demand jobs.