Risk factors for distal radius osteotomy nonunion

Desraj M. Clark, Benjamin W. Hoyt, Andres S. Piscoya, Christopher M. Daniels, Scott M. Tintle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Osteotomy-site nonunion after distal radius corrective osteotomy is a detrimental complication. This retrospective study aims to identify patient and surgical factors associated with nonunion risk to help mitigate this. The authors hypothesize that patient factors and potentially modifiable surgical factors are contributory. Methods: Thirty-three patients who underwent corrective osteotomy of the distal radius for prior fracture malunion were identified. Radiographs and patient records were reviewed for demographics, comorbidities, nutritional status, plate position, angle and length of osteotomy correction, and graft used. The primary study outcome was osteotomy nonunion. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were used to identify covariates relevant to nonunion. Backward, stepwise logistic regression was applied to investigate the multivariate effects on outcome, and regression analysis was adjusted for confounders. Results: Seven patients (21 percent) experienced nonunion after initial corrective osteotomy. Risk factors associated with nonunion included correction length of osteotomy of 5 mm or greater and prior treatment with open reduction and internal fixation. Autograft use was protective against nonunion. History of osteoporosis showed a trend toward increased risk. Angle of osteotomy correction, nutritional deficit, age, diabetes, smoking status, and obesity were not identified as risk factors by the multivariate model. Conclusions: Distraction length at the osteotomy site, graft selection, and prior internal fixation were significant risk factors for distal radius osteotomy nonunion, but other factors traditionally associated with nonunion did not appear to impact risk. The authors recommend using autograft bone augmentation, particularly when distracting the osteotomy beyond 5 mm or after prior internal fixation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1305
Number of pages5
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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