This prospective study describes the outcome of ulnar shortening performed on 32 wrists with early osteoarthritis of the distal radiounlar joint (DRUJ) in an attempt to change the contact area between the ulnar head and the radial sigmoid notch. By changing the contact area, we attempted to relieve pain, while maintaining the function of the DRUJ. The mean age of the patients was 34 years, and the mean follow-up was three years and two months. The wrists were graded by the patients' self-assessment of satisfaction and by a clinical wrist rating that assessed pain, functional status, range of motion, and grip strength. In terms of self-assessment, 16/32 patients were very satisfied, with complete pain relief. Of the 32 patients, 26 said that they would have surgery again if circumstances were similar. The postoperative wrist ratings were 7/32 excellent, 11/32 good, 9/32 fair, 5/32 poor. The most frequent postoperative complaint was plate irritation.
Copyright 2001 The British Society for Surgery of the Hand.