Radioulnar Synostosis | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is congenital radioulnar synostosis diagnosed in babies and children?

If your child was born with mild radioulnar synostosis, the condition may not be noticeable and may not be diagnosed until your child reaches school age. In some children, mild radioulnar synostosis is not diagnosed until adolescence.

If your child has a more severe form of the condition, their forearm rotation will be much more limited and the condition will be more obvious. In such cases, the condition can be diagnosed at an earlier age — typically around age 6.

To diagnose radioulnar synostosis, your child’s doctor will do a thorough medical history and physical exam. They may order an x-ray and/or a CT scan. The images will help them assess the underlying structure of your child’s bones, confirm the diagnosis, check for related conditions, and determine a course of treatment.

How is radioulnar synostosis treated in babies and children?

Treatment depends on whether your child is having problems using their arm. Some children with radioulnar synostosis never need surgery. Physical and occupational therapy can help your child meet normal developmental milestones and work around any activity limitations.

If your child has radioulnar synostosis in both arms, or if their forearm is fixed in a position that limits the function of their arm, they may benefit from surgery. Surgery is usually performed before children reach school age.

During osteotomy surgery for radioulnar synostosis, the two bones of the forearm are cut and rotated to improve use of the arm.

Surgery involves repositioning the forearm so children can improve the use of the arm. A surgeon will cut the forearm bones, turn them, then secure them in place with plates and pins, a procedure called an osteotomy.

Following surgery, children generally stay in the hospital for one night and wear a cast on their arm for six weeks while their bones heal.