Madelung's Deformity (Madelung Deformity) in Children

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Combining training in adult and pediatric orthopedics, hand surgery, plastic surgery and microsurgery allows our surgeons to provide a comprehensive level of care unmatched in most other hospital settings.

--Donald S. Bae, MD, associate in Orthopedic Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital

If your child has been diagnosed with Madelung deformity, we at Boston Children’s Hospital will do everything we can to treat her—and you—with sensitivity and support.

Here are some of the basics of Madelung deformity:

  • Madelung deformity is an arm condition that results in a malaligned wrist—the joint where the two long bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) meet the carpal bones of the hand.
  • Madelung’s is a congenital condition, meaning that it’s something your child was born with, but it often doesn’t show up until pre- or early adolescence.
  • Girls are more often affected than boys.
  • Most of the time, the condition affects both of a child’s wrists.
  • Signs and symptoms can include:
    • Limited range of motion (ROM) in wrist
    • Wrist pain
    • Visible changes in the appearance of the wrist
  • The condition is usually diagnosed when a child is between 8 and 14 years old, although the condition can become apparent earlier.
  • Diagnosis is usually confirmed by a physical exam and x-rays.
  • For children with no symptoms and only a minor bump, observation and monitoring may be all that is needed. But more severe Madelung’s may be treated by surgery, and there are several surgical approaches.
  • While surgery corrects the deformity, it can come back, especially in younger children. Boston Children’s doctors use several strategies to reduce the risk of recurrence.

How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches Madelung deformity

The skilled experts at Boston Children’s  have treated thousands of babies and children with arm and hand problems that range from the simple to the highly complex, including world-class treatment for Madelung deformity.

Our Orthopedic Center is nationally known as the preeminent center for the care of children and young adults with a wide range of developmental, congenital, neuromuscular, sports related, traumatic and post-traumatic problems of the musculoskeletal system.

The Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program

The Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program provides comprehensive care involving occupational and physical therapy, splinting, casting and reconstructive surgeries for infants, children and adolescents with complex congenital, neuromuscular, sports-related oncologic and traumatic upper limb conditions.

Madelung deformity: Reviewed by Donald Bae, MD
© Boston Children's Hospital; posted in 2012

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