Comparison of Long-Term Outcomes of Radial Osteotomy and Nonoperative Treatment for Kienböck Disease: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background:

Radial osteotomy has shown favorable clinical results for early to advanced stages of Kienböck disease. However, it is not clear whether this technique could change the natural course of the disease, or whether its clinical results are actually superior to those of nonoperative treatment. The purpose of this study was to compare radial osteotomy with nonoperative treatment in terms of long-term radiographic and clinical outcomes in patients with Kienböck disease.

Methods:

We systematically reviewed retrospective studies of radial osteotomy and nonoperative treatment for Kienböck disease with long-term follow-up (mean of ≥10 years). A systematic search was conducted across 3 databases (CENTRAL, PubMed, and Embase) and relevant articles were selected. Data regarding patient demographics, treatment details, and radiographic and clinical outcomes were abstracted from the selected studies.

Results:

Seventeen studies (5 of nonoperative treatment and 12 of radial osteotomy) were included. Before treatment, the mean age of patients and mean proportion of wrists with Lichtman stage III or higher were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Neither the mean proportion of wrists that showed worsening of the Lichtman stage after treatment nor the proportion that showed no change in the stage were significantly different between the 2 groups. However, the mean proportion of wrists that had more than moderate pain at the time of final follow-up was significantly lower in the radial osteotomy group (5.7%; range, 0% to 18.2%) than in the nonoperative treatment group (23.2%; range, 17.4% to 35.3%). In addition, the total arc of wrist motion at the time of final follow-up was significantly greater in the radial osteotomy group (107.4° ± 10.0°; range, 93.0° to 126.0°) than in the nonoperative treatment group (88.8° ± 13.2°; range, 68.5° to 103.5°).

Conclusions:

Systematic review of long-term follow-up studies showed that radial osteotomy was not superior to nonoperative treatment in terms of disease progression according to the Lichtman stage. Nevertheless, radial osteotomy was reported to have better outcomes with respect to the extent of pain and range of wrist motion.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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