Scaphoid nonunions: A 3-dimensional analysis of patterns of deformity

Hisao Moritomo, Steven F. Viegas, Karin W. Elder, Koji Nakamura, Mannuel F. DaSilva, Nolan L. Boyd, Rita M. Patterson

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We tested the hypothesis that the fracture location of scaphoid nonunions relates to the fracture displacement, development of dorsal intercalated segment instability (DISI) deformity, and changes in the contact area of the bones in the radiocarpal joint. Eleven patients with scaphoid nonunions were examined with 3-dimensional computed tomography and a new method of proximity mapping. Two different patterns of displacement of scaphoid nonunions were demonstrated, 1 volar and 1 dorsal. All patients with a volar pattern scaphoid nonunion had a DISI deformity. Only a few of the patients with a dorsal pattern scaphoid nonunion, mostly in longstanding nonunions, had a DISI deformity. The fracture line was generally distal to the dorsal apex of the ridge of the scaphoid in the volar-type fractures and proximal in the dorsal displaced fractures. The proximity map of the distal fragment of the scaphoid on the radius in the volar type shifts radial compared with normal; in the distal type it shifts dorsal. Neither of the patterns showed any significant changes of the proximity map in the radiocarpal joint at the proximal scaphoid fragment and the lunate. Whether the fracture line passes distal or proximal to the dorsal apex of the ridge of the scaphoid appears to determine the likelihood of subsequent fracture displacement, DISI deformity, and contact area of the bones in the radiocarpal. Copyright (C) 2000 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Computed tomography
  • Dorsal intercalated segment instability
  • Nonunion
  • Scaphoid
  • Wrist


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