Proximal row carpectomy: Minimum 20-year follow-up

Lindley B. Wall, Michael L. Didonna, Thomas R. Kiefhaber, Peter J. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Purpose: Proximal row carpectomy (PRC) is a motion-sparing procedure for degenerative disorders of the proximal carpal row. Reported results at a minimum 10-year follow-up consistently show maintenance of strength, motion, and satisfaction with an average conversion rate to radiocarpal arthrodesis of 12%. We hypothesized that PRC would continue to provide a high level of satisfaction and function at a minimum of 20 years. Methods: Seventeen wrists in 16 patients, including 7 laborers, underwent PRC for symptomatic degenerative disorders of the proximal carpal row at an average age of 36 years. Patients returned for radiographic and clinical evaluation, and the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) questionnaire and Patient-Related Wrist Evaluation were used for subjective assessment. Follow-up was a minimum of 20 years (average, 24 y). Results: Eleven wrists (65%) underwent no further surgery at a minimum 20-year follow-up. The average time to failure of PRC, defined as the time from PRC to radiocarpal arthrodesis, was 11 years (range, 8 mo to 20 y). Ten of 11 patients who did not undergo radiocarpal arthrodesis continued to be satisfied, with minimal decrease in motion and grip strength compared with the uninvolved side. Average score for QuickDASH was 16 and for Patient-Related Wrist Evaluation was 26. The flexion-extension arc was 68°, and grip strength was 72% of the contralateral side. All patients returned to their original employment. There was no correlation between degenerative radiographic changes and satisfaction level. The predicted probability of failure revealed a higher risk in patients who underwent PRC at a younger age, which leveled off at age 40 years. Conclusions: PRC provides satisfaction at a minimum of 20 years with a survival rate of 65%. Whereas we recommend a minimum age for PRC between 35 and 40 years, young patients should not be excluded as PRC candidates; these patients should undergo appropriate preoperative counseling of their increased failure risk secondary to their young age. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1498-1504
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Degenerative
  • Kienbock
  • SLAC
  • SNAC
  • proximal row carpectomy


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