Natural history of scaphoid non-union, with special reference to "asymptomatic" cases

J Hand Surg Br. 1992 Dec;17(6):697-700. doi: 10.1016/0266-7681(92)90204-f.


33 patients with non-union of the carpal scaphoid were diagnosed by X-ray examination two to 37 years following the original trauma. All of the patients could be contacted and summoned for a re-examination ten to 17 years later. X-rays revealed a 100% incidence of progressive radio-carpal osteoarthritis. It is concluded that freedom of pain is not a reliable prognostic indicator, and that all patients with non-union of the carpal scaphoid are likely to benefit from surgical treatment of the pseudarthrosis. The only exception to this rule might be the patient in whom the radio-carpal joint is already deteriorated by an advanced degenerative arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carpal Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Carpal Bones / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fracture Healing / physiology
  • Fractures, Ununited / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Ununited / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology