Safety and Efficacy of Derotational Osteotomy for Congenital Radioulnar Synostosis

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Congenital radioulnar synostosis (CRUS) refers to an abnormal connection between the radius and ulna due to embryological failure of separation. Derotational osteotomy has been advocated for children with functional limitations, although historically this procedure has been associated with a 36% complication rate including compartment syndrome and loss of correction.


A retrospective evaluation of consecutive patients who underwent derotational osteotomy for CRUS at a single institution was performed. Children with functional limitations secondary to excessive pronation were indicated for surgery with a goal of correction to 10 to 20 degrees of pronation. All patients were treated with a standardized surgical technique including careful subperiosteal elevation, rotational osteotomy at the level of the synostosis, control of the osteotomy fragments, appropriate pinning techniques, and prophylactic forearm fasciotomies. Electronic medical records, preoperative radiographs, and postoperative radiographs were reviewed.


Derotational osteotomy was performed in 31 forearms in 26 children (13 bilateral, 13 unilateral) with a mean age of 6.8 years (range, 3.0 to 18.8 y). The mean clinical follow-up was 46 months (range, 6 to 148 mo). The mean preoperative pronation deformity was 85 degrees (range, 60 to 100 degrees). The mean correction achieved was 77 degrees (range, 40 to 95 degrees), resulting in a mean final position of 8 degrees of pronation (range, 0 to 30 degrees). All patients successfully achieved union by 8 weeks postoperatively. There were no cases of compartment syndrome, vascular compromise, or loss of fixation. The overall complication rate was 12% (2 transient anterior interosseous nerve palsies, 1 transient radial nerve palsy, 1 symptomatic muscle herniation). Both transient anterior interosseous nerve palsies occurred in patients with rotational corrections exceeding 80 degrees.


Derotational osteotomy can be safely and effectively performed in children with CRUS. Meticulous surgical technique, including control of the osteotomy, judicious pin fixation, and prophylactic fasiotomies, may diminish the risk of neurovascular compromise and loss of correction. Transient anterior interosseous nerve palsies occurred, and may be related to large rotational corrections.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—case series.

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