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SA Orthopaedic Journal

On-line version ISSN 2309-8309
Print version ISSN 1681-150X


SITHEBE, H  and  MENNEN, U. The incidence of asymptomatic Kienböck's disease. SA orthop. j. [online]. 2008, vol.7, n.3, pp.40-42. ISSN 2309-8309.

The aim of the study was to determine the incidence of asymptomatic Kienböck's disease in patients who attended the Dr George Mukhari Hospital (formerly: Ga-Rankuwa Hospital), and to determine the relevance of ulnar variance on the disease. This was a retrospective study. In a 12-month period we reviewed postero-anterior X-rays of 1 287 patients seen at our radiology department, with complaints unrelated to the upper limb including the wrist and hand. We identified 23 cases (1.87%) of asymptomatic Kienböck's disease. The majority (63%) were male with an average age of 49 years, and 37% were female with an average age of 46.5 years. All were unilateral and all were in the dominant hand. Thirteen cases (57%) had an ulna neutral wrist and the remaining ten (43%) had an ulnar negative variance. The vast majority (83%) were unemployed. From the results of our study we could deduct with reasonable confidence that at least a 1.87% incidence of asymptomatic stage II, III and IV Kienböck's disease is present in the black African population. Analysis of the data shed no further light on the aetiology. The relevance of ulnar variance as an aetiological factor is seriously questioned.

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