Return to Usual Work Following an Ulnar Shortening Osteotomy: A Sample of 111 Patients

Joris Sebastiaan Teunissen*, Reinier Feitz, Sanharib Al Shaer, Steven Hovius, Ruud W. Selles, Brigitte Van der Heijden

*Corresponding author for this work

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Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to analyze the median time until patients performed their usual work following an ulnar shortening osteotomy (USO). The secondary aim was to identify factors influencing the median time until return to their usual work. 

Methods: We used a retrospective cohort of patients with ongoing data collection from our institution in the Netherlands. Patients with paid employment who underwent USO were invited to complete a return-to-work questionnaire at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery. The probability of and median time until return to usual work were assessed using an inverted Kaplan-Meier analysis. Factors influencing the return to usual work were evaluated using multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression. 

Results: In total, 111 patients who underwent USO were included, with a mean age of 46 years. The probability of returning to usual work in the first year was 92%, and the median time was 12 weeks. The type of work was independently associated with a return to work, with median times of 8, 12, and 14 weeks for light, moderate, and heavy physical work, respectively. We did not find differences in return to usual work based on age, sex, duration of complaints until surgery, treatment side, smoking status, the preoperative Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation score, or whether the osteotomy was performed freehand or with an external cutting device. 

Conclusions: Half of the patients that underwent USO fully performed their usual work by 12 weeks following surgery. We found that 92% of the patients performed their usual work within 1 year after surgery. We found a large variation in the time until a return to work based on the type of work. Surgeons can use this data to inform patients on the rehabilitation phase after USO.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2021


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