Functional Outcomes After Salvage Procedures for Wrist Trauma and Arthritis (Four-Corner Fusion, Proximal Row Carpectomy, Total Wrist Arthroplasty, Total Wrist Fusion, Wrist Denervation): A Review of Literature

Ingo Schmidt1 , * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Orthopaedics Journal 15 Nov 2019 REVIEW ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874325001913010217



Several salvage procedures for the arthritically destroyed wrist exist. Each of these has advantages as well as disadvantages.


The aim of this article is to give practical insights for the clinician on: (1) biomechanical and clinical fundamentals of normal and impaired wrist motion; (2) difficulties in assessment of postoperative outcome between measured motion by the surgeon and self-reported outcome by the patient; (3) indications for each procedure; and (4) differences in functional outcome between partial and complete motion-preserving as well as complete motion-restricting salvage procedures.


In trend, Proximal Row Carpectomy (PRC) is slightly superior over four-corner fusion (4CF) in terms of functional outcome, but the methodology-related postoperative motion is decreased for both procedures. Furthermore, PRC is easier to perform, needs lower costs, and has fewer complications than 4CF. Total Wrist Arthroplasty (TWA) has the advantage compared to PRC and 4CF that the preoperative motion values are preserved, but it is limited by decreased load-bearing capacity for the wrist. Total Wrist Fusion (TWF) is associated with a higher load-bearing capacity for the wrist than TWA, but it is limited for carrying out essential activities of daily living. Both PRC and 4CF can be combined primarily by wrist denervation. Wrist denervation alone does not impair the movement of the wrist.

Results and Conclusion:

Salvage procedures for the arthritically destroyed wrist should be detected regarding patients age- and gender-related claims in work and leisure. Not all of them can be successfully re-employed in their original occupations associated with high load-bearing conditions.

Keywords: Wrist, Osteoarthritis, Four-corner fusion, Proximal row carpectomy, Total wrist arthroplasty, Total wrist fusion, Denervation.
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