Ulnar Shortening Osteotomy: Are Complications Under Reported?

J Hand Microsurg. 2015 Dec;7(2):276-82. doi: 10.1007/s12593-015-0201-7. Epub 2015 Sep 23.


Ulnar shortening osteotomy is an accepted treatment for ulnar impaction syndrome and numerous techniques for have been described in the literature. We present our single surgeon case series over 10 years of oblique ulnar shortening osteotomy using a jig technique. A review of the current literature with reference to the risk of complications is included. All patients undergoing ulnar shortening osteotomy from 2001 to 2011 were identified and case-notes were reviewed retrospectively. Risks of complications included metalwork irritation (51 %), non-union (6.3 %), refracture (1.6 %) and chronic regional pain syndrome (1.6 %). Oblique ulnar osteotomy using a jig technique is reliable and reproducible in shortening the ulna and maintaining alignment, rotation and compression at the osteotomy site. Symptoms improved in the majority of patients. However, the morbidity associated with the procedure may be underestimated as highlighted by our complication rates. Surgeons should counsel patients appropriately when offering ulnar shortening osteotomy.

Keywords: Complications; Ulnar impaction syndrome; Ulnar shortening osteotomy.