J Wrist Surg 2016; 05(03): 217-221
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1572509
Scientific Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Distal Radius Hemiarthroplasty

Brian D. Adams
1  Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Ericka A. Lawler
2  Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
Taften L. Kuhl
2  Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

10 January 2016

11 January 2016

Publication Date:
19 February 2016 (online)


Introduction Due to a higher risk for implant loosening, particularly of the distal component, patients with physically demanding lifestyles are infrequently considered for total wrist arthroplasty (TWA). A distal radius hemiarthroplasty may obviate the need for the strict restrictions recommended for patients treated by TWA, thus providing another surgical option for active patients with severe wrist arthritis, especially those with articular degeneration of the lunate facet of the radius, capitate head, or combination of both, who are not typically candidates for traditional motion-preserving procedures.

The purpose of this cadaver study was to evaluate the radiographic static alignment of the wrist following distal radius hemiarthroplasty and after hemiarthroplasty combined with proximal row carpectomy (PRC) to determine if these procedures should be further considered for clinical application.

Materials and Methods Eight fresh-frozen cadaver limbs (age range, 43–82 years) with no history of rheumatoid arthritis or upper extremity trauma were used. Radiodense markers were inserted in the radius and hand. Posteroanterior (PA) fluoroscopic images with the wrist in neutral, radial deviation, and ulnar deviation, and lateral images with the wrist in neutral, flexion, and extension were obtained for each specimen before implantation, after distal radius hemiarthroplasty, and after combined hemiarthroplasty and PRC.

Results On the PA images, the capitate remained within 1.42 and 2.21 mm of its native radial-ulnar position following hemiarthroplasty and hemiarthroplasty with PRC, respectively. Lateral images showed the capitate remained within 1.06 mm of its native dorsal-volar position following hemiarthroplasty and within 4.69 mm following hemiarthroplasty with PRC. Following hemiarthroplasty, capitate alignment changed 2.33 and 2.59 mm compared with its native longitudinal alignment on PA and lateral films, respectively. These changes did not reach statistical significance. As expected, significant shortening in longitudinal alignment was seen on both PA and lateral films for hemiarthroplasty with PRC.

Conclusion A distal radius implant hemiarthroplasty with or without a PRC provides good static alignment of the wrist in a cadaver model and thus supports the concept as potential treatment alternatives for advanced wrist arthritis; however, combined hemiarthroplasty with a PRC has more clinical relevance because it avoids the risk of proximal carpal row instability and eliminates the commonly arthritic radioscaphoid joint.