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Chirurgie de la main
Volume 34, n° 6
page 352 (décembre 2015)
Doi : 10.1016/j.main.2015.10.059
Annual Congress of the French Society for Surgery of the Hand

The use of a dorsal capsular-based flap graft for scaphoid pseudarthrosis – long-term functional results

Filipe Lima Santos 1, , Miguel Frias 2, Ricardo Santos Pereira 2, Gustavo Martins 2, Andreia Ferreira 2, Pedro Canela 2
1 Rua das Andresas, 385, hab 54, Porto, Portugal 
2 Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal 

Corresponding author.

The scaphoid has a very tenuous blood supply that limits its capacity to recover from injury. A fracture of the scaphoid therefore presents an important risk of delayed union, pseudarthrosis and avascular necrosis. The fact that this type of fracture is many times missed on the first observation further increases the risk of pseudarthrosis.

The use of pedicle grafts has the ability to fill the nonunion defect with new bone, bringing new osteoblasts and blood supply to the injury site. In 2006, Sotereanos described a capsular-based vascularized distal radius graft for the treatment of scaphoid pseudarthrosis that was readily available, close to the pseudarthrosis, required minimal rotation and did not need the dissection of a pedicle.

The goal of our study was to evaluate the long-term results of the treatment of pseudarthrosis of the scaphoid using a capsular-based vascularized distal radius graft (as described by Sotereanos et al., 2006).

Materials and methods

Ten patients who underwent this procedure were identified, and the average follow-up time was 4,5 years (range 2–6 years). All but one patient were male, with an average age of 30 years (range 18–45). In 8 patients the non-dominant limb was the one affected.

A dorsal approach was used, and the technique was according to Sotereanos et al., 2006.


There were no postoperative complications such as infection or hardware migration.

Of the 10 patients, 8 evolved to union, as determined by x ray and clinical examination. None of the patients was forced to abandon their professional activity after surgery, even though 25% required some type of adaptation necessary at their workplace.

The average functional capacity was, according to the Mayo Wrist Score, of 82 points (range 65–90), corresponding to a “Good” function. The average disability according to the QuickDASH was 12.6 (range 0–45.5). The two patients with persistent symptomatic nonunions declined further surgical treatment and presented with the worst outcomes. All patients had decreased ROM after surgery.


The union rate after surgery in this series is in line with previously published studies about this technique. No other published studies present long-term functional studies with this technique.


This technique is safe, easy and reliable for the treatment of scaphoid nonunions. Patients presented a good functional result at a mean follow-up of 4.5 years.

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© 2015  Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.
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