Background: For congenital proximal radioulnar synostosis, both conservative and operative treatments have been described. Most of the studies describing surgical interventions are based on subjective evaluation of the forearm function and have used severe degree of forearm pronation as an indication for surgery. This study describes a single-staged rotational osteotomy of the proximal third ulna and distal third radius. The aim of the study was to assess the utility of the described surgical procedure by subjective and objective evaluations of the forearm function.
Methods: Forty-eight children with congenital proximal radioulnar synostosis were evaluated by subjective and objective assessments and were followed up prospectively. Subjective evaluation consisted of a set of 12 questions regarding the basic activities of life. Objective evaluation was made using the Jebsen-Taylor hand-function test and a classification system used by Failla and colleagues for 15 tasks described by Morrey and colleagues. Eleven children were treated conservatively. Thirty-six children underwent a single-staged rotational osteotomy of the proximal third ulna and distal third radius. After surgery, the evaluations were repeated. The mean age at surgery was 8.6±3.7 years, and the mean postoperative follow-up period was 54±13 months.
Results: All operated forearms showed a statistically significant improvement in functioning after surgery as per the subjective and objective evaluations. The mean time taken to carry out all activities before surgery was 47.7+10.0 seconds, which significantly reduced to 33.3+6.6 seconds after surgery (P=0.0001) as per the results of the Jebsen-Taylor hand-function test. All good (n=19) and fair (n=11) results were converted to excellent (n=30) after surgery as per the modified Failla classification. There were no neurovascular injuries as compared with other published techniques. Only 1 child had delayed union, and 1 had persistent dorsal angulation at the radial osteotomy site.
Conclusions: For patients with congenital radioulnar synostosis and pronation deformity interfering with function and quality of life, the single-staged rotational osteotomy of the radius and ulna is a good alternative procedure.
Level of Evidence: Level IV—therapeutic.