Five to ten-year outcomes of the Universal total wrist arthroplasty in patients with rheumatoid arthritis Journal Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Implant arthroplasty of the wrist offers pain relief with preservation of motion to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, although few studies have investigated the long-term results of this procedure. The purpose of the present study is to report the prospective results of total wrist arthroplasty with use of the Universal wrist prosthesis in a consecutive series of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were managed by a single surgeon. METHODS: Twenty-four wrist arthroplasties in twenty patients with rheumatoid arthritis were followed prospectively. Nineteen wrists in fifteen patients were followed clinically and radiographically for a mean of 7.3 years (range, 5.0 to 10.8 years) after the index procedure. Outcome measures included the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score, wrist range of motion, and standard radiographic findings. RESULTS: The average DASH score improved from 62 points preoperatively to 40 points at the time of the latest follow-up. The mean wrist flexion and extension at the time of the latest follow-up were 42 degrees and 20 degrees , respectively, for a mean improvement in the total flexion-extension arc of 14 degrees . A total of nine wrists (45%) in eight patients underwent revision surgery because of a loose carpal component at the time of the latest follow-up. One patient underwent wrist arthrodesis because of recurrent wrist instability. Two additional wrists in two patients had radiographic evidence of carpal component subsidence at the time of the latest follow-up. The implant survival rates at five and seven years for the original prosthetic components were 75% and 60%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The results for the Universal wrist prosthesis at a minimum of five years of follow-up include a high rate of failure, most often because of carpal component loosening, resulting in revision of ten (50%) of twenty wrists at the time of the latest follow-up (with the inclusion of one revision in a patient who died before five years). Patients with a stable prosthesis maintained a functional range of motion and had improvement in patient-reported outcome measures.

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publication date

  • 2011