Management of a Complex, Multioperated Intra-Articular Distal Radius Fracture

J Wrist Surg. 2015 Aug;4(3):179-82. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1558832.


Background Intra-articular distal radius fractures can have many complications, including radiocarpal osteoarthritis and distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) dysfunction leading to pain and restricted wrist function. Case Description We describe the case of a 38-year-old patient who sustained a left distal radius intra-articular fracture, which was treated with volar plating. She developed pain from the radiocarpal joint as a result of intra-articular malunion and was listed for total wrist fusion. On the day of surgery this was converted to a Darrach procedure for minor DRUJ symptoms. This resulted in pain from the DRUJ as a result of instability, in addition to persisting radiocarpal arthritis pain. Due to her subsequent poor wrist function, she presented to the authors and underwent DRUJ arthroplasty with a proximally placed Scheker prosthesis to deal with her DRUJ symptoms and, later, a KinematX radiocarpal hemiarthroplasty for her radiocarpal symptoms. She remains happy with her outcome at 36-month follow-up. Literature Review The complications of the Darrach procedure include painful radioulnar convergence and wrist instability. The Scheker prosthesis allows restoration of stability of the DRUJ with good outcomes and 100% 5-year survival in one series. Sparing the midcarpal joint, the KinematX hemiarthroplasty allows preservation of the dart thrower's motion arc, which is key in many complex wrist movements and functions. Clinical Relevance This case highlights the negative consequences of distal ulna resection and shows both the Scheker and KinematX prostheses as viable, effective means to restore function to young, active patients with posttraumatic radiocarpal arthritis and/or instability.

Keywords: distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ); distal radius fracture; hemiarthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Case Reports