The effect of forearm rotation on radiographic measurements of the wrist: an experimental study using radiostereometric analyses on cadavers

Janni Jensen*, Hans B Tromborg, Benjamin S B Rasmussen, Oke Gerke, Trine Torfing, Helle Precht, Ole Graumann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although dorsal/palmar tilt, radial inclination (RI), and ulnar variance (UV) are measurements commonly performed in wrist radiographs, the impact of forearm rotation on those measurements during the radiographic procedure is uncertain. Our aim was to determine the impact of supination and pronation on the reliability of measurements of tilt, RI, and UV.

METHODS: Tantalum markers were inserted into the distal radius of 21 unfractured cadaver forearms. The forearms were radiographed in different degrees of supination and pronation. The exact degree of rotation was calculated with radiostereometric analyses. Tilt, RI, and UV were measured by two independent readers in a random and anonymised fashion. Association between forearm rotation and radiographic measurements was examined using linear regression.

RESULTS: Forearm rotation significantly impacted the radiographically measured tilt. One degree of supination and pronation respectively increased and decreased palmar tilt with 0.68° and 0.44°, observers 1 and 2, respectively. As opposed to observer 1, observer 2 found that RI was significantly impacted by rotation with a slope of 0.08. Ulnar variance was not significantly impacted by rotation with linear regression slopes of 0.01° (95% confidence interval [CI] - 0.02-0.05, p = 0.490) and 0.02° (95% CI - 0.02-0.07; p = 0.288), observer 1 and observer 2, respectively.

CONCLUSION: In unfractured forearms, the radiographically measured tilt was significantly affected by rotation. Palmar tilt increased with supination and decreased with pronation. Rotation significantly affected radial inclination, although of a magnitude that is probably not clinically relevant. No significant impact on UV was found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalEuropean Radiology Experimental
Volume5
Number of pages10
ISSN2509-9280
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2. Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Cadaver
  • Forearm
  • Radiography
  • Radiostereometric analysis
  • Wrist

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