, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 324-329

Partial transient osteoporosis of the hand

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Objective. To describe the radiographic and scintigraphic findings of partial transient osteoporosis (PTO) of the hand. To discuss the relationship of PTO and other localized demineralizing diseases.

Design and patients. Three patients with PTO that affected two or three digits of the hand are reported. Two patients were middle-aged women and the third was a young man. All presented with a history of trauma to the hand. All patients experienced localized burning pain, swelling and vasomotor changes including redness of the skin, hyperhidrosis and signs of vasomotor instability of the involved fingers. Plain radiography and bone scanning were used in the diagnosis and follow-up of these cases.

Results. All patients had a radial distribution of the osteoporosis that involved adjacent rays. In all patients two rays were involved. The radiographic changes manifested as minimal patchy osteoporosis involving the cortical, cancellous, subarticular and subperiosteal bone with no articular involvement. The increased uptake on scintigraphy coincided with the radial distribution of the osteoporosis. All patients improved on physical therapy and were symptom-free approximately 6 months after the initial injury. These patients were followed up for more than 2 years.

Conclusion. PTO of the hand is an uncommon disease with typical clinical and radiographic findings. Bone scintigraphy confirms the partial involvement of the hand.

Received: 27 February 1998 Revision requested: 18 June 1998 Revision received: 4 March 1999 Accepted: 15 April 1999