Purpose To compare the long-term outcomes of proximal row carpectomy (PRC) and 4-corner arthrodesis (FCA) in a consecutive series of patients surgically treated between 1989 and 1998 in a single teaching hospital. Methods We included 12 patients (14 wrists) in the PRC group and 8 patients (8 wrists) in the FCA group. Mean follow-up time was 17 years. We compared functional outcome measures (range of motion and grip strength) and patient-reported outcome measures (visual analog score for pain, Mayo Wrist Score, and Michigan Hand Questionnaire). Radiographic evaluation of joint degeneration using the Culp and Jebson scoring system and postoperative complications were assessed for both groups. Results Active range of motion was slightly better after PRC. There were no differences in grip strength and patient-reported outcomes between groups. Severity of degenerative changes did not differ between groups and was not correlated with pain scores. The FCA group showed more postoperative complications. Conclusions Considering the objective and patient-reported outcomes of this study, both types of surgery perform well in the long run. Proximal row carpectomy seems to result in slightly better movement of the wrist with fewer surgical complications and no need for hardware removal. Moreover, postoperative immobilization time was much shorter. Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic III.