Scaphoid fractures : Studies on diagnosis and treatment

Abstract: Scaphoid fracture is most common in young individuals of working age. Without adequate diagnosis and treatment, long-term results are poor. Operative treatment is being recommended increasingly often instead of a long time in cast, although there is no evidence-based support for its superiority.The present thesis focuses on diagnostic problems and therapeutic consequences of acute scaphoid fractures and of scaphoid reconstruction when other treatments have failed.Simultaneous plain radiographs and computed tomography were done in 97 injured wrists. Structural assessments of plain radiography images were highly predictive with respect to the risk of having a displaced or comminute fracture as diagnosed on computed tomography. Any finding of a gap or step-off > 0.5 mm, the presence of an intermediate fragment or a dorsal lunate tilt of ≥ 15° identified 81 % of fractures that were displaced or comminuted when investigated with computed tomography.Eighty-three patients were randomly allocated to and received either nonoperative treatment in cast or operative treatment with the aim of assessing long-term outcome of the two treatment options. Fifty-two of the patients were occupationally active. From an occupational perspective with an early return to work, surgical treatment was superior in individuals with manual employment, and from a health economic perspective conservative treatment was superior in non-manual workers.Patients treated for scaphoid fractures generally do well up to 13 years after the injury based on limb-specific outcome scores. No benefits were identified with operative treatment compared to non-operative treatment in cast. On the contrary, there was an increased risk for osteoarthritis in the scaphotrapezial joint in those who were operated.The patient-rated long-term results of silicone implant arthroplasty were good, with pain relief and reasonable hand function in many patients up to 20 years after surgery.