The Effects of Ulnar Axial Malalignment on Supination and Pronation

Tynan, Martin C.; Fornalski, Stefan; McMahon, Patrick J.; Utkan, Ali; Green, Stuart A.; Lee, Thay Q.
December 2000
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;Dec2000, Vol. 82-A Issue 12, p1726
Academic Journal
Background: Forearm fractures are common injuries in both adults and children. Despite efforts to obtain anatomical alignment, axial rotational malunions occur, resulting in a decreased range of motion and a poor appearance. The objective of this study was to quantify loss of forearm rotation after simulation of ulnar malunions in supination and pronation. Methods: Six fresh-frozen cadaveric upper extremities (mean age at the time of death, 79.4 ± 2.8 years) were used to quantify loss of forearm rotation after simulation of axial rotational malunions of the ulna. First, maximum forearm rotation in supination and pronation was measured at torques of 6.8, 13.6, and 20.4 kilograms-centimeter applied with use of a custom jig. Following a midshaft ulnar osteotomy, a custom adjustable internal fixation plate was used to simulate axial rotational malunions of the ulna of 0, 15, 30, and 45 degrees in both directions. Measurements in supination and pronation were then repeated at the prespecified torques. Analysis of variance, with a p value of 0.05, was used for statistical analysis. Results: In all instances, a decrease in forearm rotation after simulation of the ulnar rotational malunion was accompanied by an increase in rotation in the opposite direction. Supination and pronation were significantly influenced, whereas the total arc of rotation was not affected by ulnar rotational malunion. At a torque of 20.4 kilograms-centimeter, pronation malunions of 15, 30, and 45 degrees resulted in a mean loss of supination (and standard error of the mean) of 5 ± 1,11 ± 1, and 20 ± 1 degrees, respectively, and supination maiunions of 15, 30, and 45 degrees resulted in a mean loss of pronation of 4 ± 1,10 ± 2, and 18 ± 4 degrees, respectively. The ratio of the simulated rotational malunion to the loss of motion was larger than one. Conclusions: Ulnar rotational malunions do not lead to a significant change in the total arc of...


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