Arthroscopically Assisted Bone Grafting Reduces Union Time of Scaphoid Nonunions Compared to Percutaneous Screw Fixation Alone
10 March 2019
18 May 2019
05 July 2019 (online)
Purpose Minimally invasive techniques have been recommended in the treatment of painful but stable scaphoid nonunions. The purpose of this study was to determine if arthroscopically assisted bone grafting provided superior results in healing as compared to percutaneous screw fixation.
Materials and Methods One hundred sixty-four consecutive patients with scaphoid nonunions were retrospectively analyzed. One hundred forty-eight patients were treated with the open grafting techniques either with iliac or distal radius bone, leaving 16 patients treated with minimally invasive surgery. In the group treated percutaneously (n = 8), the time from injury to surgery was 2.5 months (range: 2–4 months) and it was 27.3 months (range: 3–180 months) in the arthroscopic group (n = 8). The mean age was 39 years (range: 20–66) in the percutaneous group and 22 years (range: 16–32) in the arthroscopic group. In all cases, the Mini Acutrak headless fully threaded compression screw was used. Healing was assessed clinically and radiographically at a minimum follow-up of 12 weeks, mean 7 months (range: 3–12 months). Data were calculated with two-tailed Mann–Whitney U test based on p-value of < 0.05 that was considered statistically significant.
Results We recorded no complications in any of the groups. Patients treated arthroscopically received cancellous bone grafting from the distal radius and all patients but one healed at a median of 7.8 weeks (range: 5–18 weeks). Seven patients in the percutaneous group healed at a mean of 10.5 weeks (range: 7–24 weeks), thus leaving one patient from each group without achieving union. Mann–Whitney U test showed the U value of 11, the critical value of U to be 13 (p < 0.05), thus significantly faster healing was observed in the arthroscopically treated group.
Conclusions Arthroscopically treated patients achieved faster healing despite shorter time to surgery in the percutaneous group. Local bone grafting is considered as the main reason for this outcome. Younger population in the arthroscopically treated group may have influenced the result.
Level of Evidence This is a Level III comparative study.
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