Failure of Wrist Hemiarthroplasty

Eric G. Huish, Zachary Lum, H. Brent Bamberger, Marc A. Trzeciak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Wrist hemiarthroplasty has emerged as a motion-sparing option for severe wrist arthritis. It is technically easy with advantages of limited bone resection and no risk of nonunion. Given the relative infancy of the procedure in clinical practice, there are limited data on patient outcomes. Methods: Eleven patients were treated with wrist reconstructive hemiarthroplasty. Indications included 1 patient with scaphoid nonunion advanced collapse, 9 patients with scapholunate advanced collapse, and 1 patient with capitolunate arthritis. Average age was 63 years; average follow-up was 4 years. Objective parameters included Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (DASH), grip strength, and range of motion. Implant failure defined by necessity of revision procedure. Results: DASH scores initially improved postoperatively but were not statistically significant. Grip strength was 60% of contralateral side. Postoperative range of motion at 6 months was flexion 40.3°, extension 39.3°, supination 87.0°, pronation 77.8°, radial deviation 14.5°, and ulnar deviation 13.8°. A 45% failure rate was observed. Complications included failure with conversion to Total Wrist Arthroplasty (TWA; n = 2) or wrist fusion (n = 3) secondary to development of ulnar-sided wrist pain. One additional patient experienced severe wrist pain but declined additional surgery. Conclusions: Wrist hemiarthroplasty in our series had a significant failure rate. In each case of failure, the patient developed ulnar-sided wrist pain. In the presence of more reliable procedures, wrist hemiarthroplasty is not indicated in its current incarnation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • SLAC
  • SNAC
  • hemiarthroplasty
  • motion preserving
  • wrist arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Failure of Wrist Hemiarthroplasty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this