Steve K. Lee, Francesco Gargano, and Michael R. Hausman
Wrist arthrofibrosis is a condition of decreased range of wrist motion due to intrinsic adhesions and extrinsic contracture. It is clinically characterized by restricted wrist range of motion, pain, swelling, and a plateau in improvement after at least 6 months of intensive physiotherapy. Other conditions must be excluded, such as articular incongruity, arthritis, spasticity, skin and subcutaneous scarring, and loose bodies. We have devised a classification system based on pathologic anatomic location, where Type I represents intrinsic adhesions, and Type II represents extrinsic contracture. The types are subdivided according to where the pathology is present. The operative approach should be wrist arthroscopy for Types IA (radiocarpal adhesions) and IB (midcarpal adhesions) where intraarticular adhesions are present. Types IC (distal radioulnar joint adhesions) and II C (distal radioulnar joint capsular contracture) are best approached in an open manner where dorsal and palmar capsulectomies of the distal radioulnar joint are performed. For Types IIA, B, and D (dorsal, palmar, and combination extrinsic contracture, respectively), both open and arthroscopic methods are described.
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