Current Concepts in Radial Club Hand

Takehiko Takagi*, 1, 2, Atsuhito Seki2, Shinichiro Takayama2, Masahiko Watanabe1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Surgical Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Kanagawa, Japan
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Center for Child Health and Development, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

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© 2017 Takagi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Surgical Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan; Tel: +81 463 93 1121; Fax: +81463964404; E-mail:


Radial club hand is a complex congenital abnormality of the radial or pre-axial border of the upper extremity. It has a wide range of phenotypes from hypoplasia of the thumb to complete absence of the radius and the first ray. Centralization with tendon transfer is a popular method for maintaining the correct position of radial club hand. On the other hand, various corrections were devised, e.g. radialization after distraction to emphasize the fact that the head of the ulna is positioned under the radial carpal bones and is no longer placed in a slot in the center of the carpus, microvascular epiphysis transfer, gradual correction using Ilizarov method, for Bayne Type III or Type IV. We should pay attention to the recurrence of radial deformity or circulatory impairment with the tension. Lunate excision or ulnar shortening can be selected for tension-free correction. Radialization can be indicated for avoiding the recurrence of radial flexion. However, we should pay attention of the radial protrusion of the ulnar head. For avoiding the recurrence of radial deformity or circulatory impairment, gradual correction using Ilizarov external fixation can be indicated, especially in the cases with severe radial deviation or with short forearm. In the mild cases, Bayne Type I or Type II, radius lengthening is accompanied by a soft-tissue distraction or release at the ulnar carpal joint with keeping wrist and forearm motion without producing growth plate damage.

Keywords: Centralization, Radialization, Radial club hand, Radius lengthening.