, Volume 471, Issue 3, pp 803-813
Date: 22 Sep 2012

Surgical Technique: Tibia Cortical Strut Autograft Interposition Arthrodesis After Distal Radius Resection

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Distal radius reconstruction after en bloc tumor resection remains a surgical challenge. Although several surgical techniques, either reconstructing the wrist or achieving a stable arthrodesis, have been described, it is unclear to what degree these restore function.

Description of Technique

We describe an updated technique making use of a tibia cortical strut autograft (TCSA) to perform a functional arthrodesis from the remaining radius to the first carpal row. This, in theory, could lead to less donor site morbidity while resulting in a stable but functional and pain-free arthrodesis of the wrist.


Between 1987 and 2010 we reconstructed the wrists of 17 patients using a TCSA arthrodesis (six primary and three revisions), seven with an osteoarticular allograft, three using an ulnar translocation, and one with a fibula autograft. Median age at diagnosis was 24 years (range, 9–58 years) and minimum followup was 2.7 years (median, 13.8 years; range, 2.7–24.5 years). Patients were evaluated using radiographs and clinical examination. We used Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS), Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH), and SF-36 questionnaires to assess function and quality of life.


All TCSA reconstructions fused; one patient had a second surgery to expedite union with the carpal row. After osteoarticular allograft, five patients were revised (three to a TCSA) for nonunion, fracture, or joint collapse. ROM and grip strength were comparable in both AO and TCSA, all above 60% of the contralateral side. Median MSTS and DASH scores were 73% and 6, respectively, and did not differ between the groups. The SF-36 scores showed less pain after TCSA; otherwise, all patients presented with comparable function.


TCSA wrist arthrodesis resulted in a functional and painless wrist reconstruction with a relatively low complication and donor site morbidity rate and comparable functional results as other techniques.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.