The authors retrospectively reviewed 22 patients (23 wrists) who were treated with corrective osteotomy for symptomatic distal radius malunion at a mean follow-up of 13 years (range, 6-24 years). Fifteen cases were isolated extra-articular malunions and 8 cases included an intra-articular component. Results were categorized as fair by the Gartland and Werley and the modified Green and O’Brien scores (pre-surgical data was not available for comparison). Distal radius and intercarpal alignment were maintained over time; however, moderate to severe arthritis developed in 14 cases according to Knirk and Jupiter’s classification (J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1986).
Corrective osteotomies of the distal radius can improve function and the clinical and radiographic appearances of the wrist. However, early results may deteriorate over time because of post-traumatic or age-related arthritis. Although not discerned in this study, the possible occurrence of radiocarpal and/or intercarpal malalignment may also compromise long-term outcome.