Imaging Assessment of the Postoperative Arthritic Wrist

Radiographics. 2011 Oct;31(6):1637-50. doi: 10.1148/rg.316115507.


Wrist arthritis is a common disease entity that can result in severe pain, swelling, and decreased wrist motion, leading to the impairment of daily activities and vocational functions. Nonsurgical treatment for wrist arthritis can improve function and provide pain relief in some cases. With disease progression, however, conservative therapy may become ineffective, and surgical treatment may be required. The three main surgical options for wrist arthritis are arthrodesis, carpectomy, and arthroplasty. Because of the high prevalence of wrist arthritis, radiologists will commonly encounter images that were obtained in patients who have undergone one or more of these surgical options. All three options are common in contemporary orthopedic practice and have evolved in recent years, making it imperative that radiologists understand current procedures and stay abreast of advances in techniques and hardware. In addition, familiarity with both normal and abnormal postoperative imaging findings can aid in the assessment of complications and early failure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis / surgery*
  • Arthrodesis / methods*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement / methods*
  • Carpal Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carpal Bones / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators
  • Joint Prosthesis
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wrist Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Wrist Joint / surgery*