J Wrist Surg 2016; 05(03): 211-216
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1571841
Scientific Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Trends in the Utilization of Total Wrist Arthroplasty versus Wrist Fusion for Treatment of Advanced Wrist Arthritis

Eitan Melamed
1  Division of Hand Surgery, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York
Bryan Marascalchi
2  Division of Spinal Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Medical Center Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York
Richard M. Hinds
1  Division of Hand Surgery, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York
Marco Rizzo
3  Division of Hand Surgery, Department of Orthopedics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
John T. Capo
1  Division of Hand Surgery, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

08 October 2015

04 January 2016

Publication Date:
09 February 2016 (online)


Background Total wrist arthroplasty (TWA) provides the requisite range of motion to accomplish activities of daily living, especially for low-demand patients with bilateral wrist arthritis. However, there are no large epidemiologic studies to evaluate nationwide trends of TWA and wrist fusion (WF).

Questions/Purposes To analyze data collected from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) to compare utilization, demographic, and outcome data among patients undergoing TWA versus total WF. We hypothesized that utilization rates of TWA have significantly increased over the prior decade in the United States.

Methods NIS data from 2001 to 2010 were reviewed. Procedures were identified by ICD-9-CM codes 81.73 (TWA) and 81.25 (WF). Utilization rates, primary treatment diagnoses, patient demographic and medical comorbidity data, and procedure costs were compared between TWA and WF.

Results There was a decrease in the number of procedures per year for TWA, while the number of WF remained relatively unchanged. There was, however, a transient increase in the frequency of TWA procedures performed from 2005 to 2008, following a decline in 2005. Patients with traumatic arthritis were more likely to receive WF. Rheumatoid patients were more likely to receive TWA. Patients receiving TWA tended to be older, female, be insured by Medicare, have a greater comorbidity burden, and have rheumatologic disease.

Conclusion WF was performed nearly four times more frequently than TWA. A trend was demonstrated toward a decreasing number of TWA being implanted, and in patients with more underlying comorbidities. TWA was associated with a higher hospitalization charge, which may be expected given the higher implant costs associated with arthroplasty.

Level of Evidence Level II, prognostic study.


The study was performed entirely at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York.