Scientific article| Volume 44, ISSUE 4, P339.e1-339.e7, April 2019

Plate Fixation With Cancellous Graft for Scaphoid Nonunion With Avascular Necrosis

Published:August 10, 2018DOI:


      Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal treatment for scaphoid nonunion with avascular necrosis (AVN). Various techniques, often involving vascularized corticocancellous bone grafting, have been proposed. The authors hypothesized that similar outcomes might be possible with volar plate fixation augmented with autogenous pure cancellous graft.


      The authors performed a retrospective chart review of 13 cases of scaphoid nonunions with AVN in 12 patients treated with plate fixation and pure cancellous bone grafting. Surgical management included a volar incision, reduction, impaction of cancellous bone graft from the ipsilateral olecranon and/or distal radius, and application of a volar locking plate. Postoperative outcome measures included time to union based on computed tomography, patient-reported pain and disability scores, grip strength, range of motion, and return to work and sports.


      The average patient was 32 years old (range, 17–50 years) and treated an average of 18 months after initial injury (range, 6–49 months). Two of 12 patients (15.7%) were female, 3 of 12 patients (25%) were smokers, and 5 of 12 patients (41.7%) had failed union with previous screw fixation. Twelve scaphoids (92.3%) were treated for AVN associated with a proximal pole fracture, and 1 (7.7%) for AVN proximal to a scaphoid waist fracture. Mean follow-up was 19.5 months (range, 12–29 months). Union was achieved in all patients. Two scaphoids (15%) achieved union by 12 weeks, 7 scaphoids (54%) by 18 weeks, 2 scaphoids (15%) by 24 weeks, and 2 scaphoids (15%) by 30 weeks (range, 8.9–28 weeks). Mean Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score improved from 30.6 ± 6.2 before surgery to 17.2 ± 6.5 after surgery. All 11 employed patients returned to work, although 3 (27.2%) did not return to full capacity.


      Scaphoid plate fixation and pure nonvascularized cancellous bone grafting for scaphoid nonunion with AVN yields excellent union rates and good patient-reported and functional outcomes.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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