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Wrist News

New, Improved Wrist Implant Maximizes Hand and Finger Function

Hip, knee, and even shoulder joint replacements have become very common. Replacing the wrist is more difficult because the wrist is a complex joint. It's made of many small bones spaced unevenly in two rows. This arrangement gives the hand and fingers fine motor control and strength, but it makes wrist joint replacements much more difficult.

Wrist replacements have been around for 25 years, but they are still uncommon. The most likely cause of wrist problems leading to joint replacement is arthritis from a previous injury or trauma (called posttraumatic arthritis). Until recently, the best treatment for arthritis after trauma has been wrist fusion. In 1990, a group of doctors from France and Belgium called the Destot group designed a wrist implant. It was hoped that the new implant would keep more finger and hand function.

This study looks at the result of the Destot implant on range of motion and grip strength. Researchers set out to find patients who can benefit from the Destot implant. An implant is also known as a prosthesis. A group of 25 patients received the Destot prosthesis. After the operation, the patients reported a big decrease in pain levels. More than 80 percent were very happy with their results. Overall success was rated as excellent. Most patients said that they would have the same surgery again.

The Destot implant works best when used for posttraumatic wrist arthritis. These patients' only other choice is a fusion. Nonmanual laborers are the best candidates for this type of wrist replacement, especially when they are over 50 years of age.


Michel Levadoux, MD, and Régis Legré, MD. Total Wrist Arthroplasty With Destot Prostheses in Patients with Posttraumatic Arthritis. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. May 2003. Vol. 28A. No. 3. Pp. 405-413.

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