Research Article| Volume 50, SUPPLEMENT 5, S50-S53, December 2019

Scaphoid nonunions in adolescents: Treatment with vascularized bone grafts

Published:October 21, 2019DOI:



      Scaphoid nonunions (SN) are rare in adolescents. The use of vascularized bone grafts (VBG) from the distal radius as an alternative to conventional grafting for the treatment of established SN in adolescents is described.

      Patients and Methods

      The technique was applied in 13 patients with symptomatic SN resulting from fractures. All patients were male with average age of 16.5 years (15–17.5). The average period from injury to surgery was 8.3 months (4–13). Patients underwent vascularized bone grafting and internal fixation with K-wires. In 6 patients with proximal pole nonunion a VBG from the dorsal distal radius was used, and in 7 with a waist nonunion a VBG from the palmar distal radius was used. The valuation was clinical (grip strength, range of motion, VAS pain score, DASH) and radiographic. The time to return to activity was also recorded.


      The mean follow-up was 9.8 years (range, 4–16). The union rate was 100% (11/11 cases). Union was achieved in a mean period of 7.2 weeks (range, 6–10), without growth disturbance or other complications from the epiphyseal plate of the distal radius. The range of motion and grip strength was 89% and 92% of the contralateral respectively. The mean postoperative DASH score was 8 and the VAS score was 1. All patients returned to daily activities and sports in a mean period of 4.5 months.


      The use of VBG from the distal radius provided a permanent solution in the rare case of SN in adolescents, without donor site morbidity or epiphyseal plate disturbance. The deformity and carpal height were corrected resulting in painless motion and grip strength.


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