, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 1081-1086
Date: 07 May 2010

MRI follow-up after free tendon graft reconstruction of the thumb ulnar collateral ligament

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Abstract

Objective

Our aim was to analyse whether MRI is useful in the follow-up of reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb, to describe normal postoperative findings, and to evaluate different MR sequences.

Material and Methods

Our study material consists of 10 patients who, because of a chronic rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb, had been operatively treated using a free tendon graft. The patients were, in addition to the clinical examination and radiographs, also imaged using MRI both pre- and postoperatively. The postoperative MRI controls, undertaken at 2, 12 and 24 months were analysed without knowledge of the clinical or radiographic findings.

Results

The reconstructed UCL was well visualised on MRI. One graft rupture was diagnosed on MRI and was later operatively confirmed. No increase in osteoarthritis of the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint of the thumb was seen during the follow-up. The single most informative MR sequence was T2TSE in the coronal plane.

Conclusion

Magnetic resonance imaging may provide a clinically valuable means of assessing graft integrity in patients with suspected postoperative graft failure after UCL reconstruction, although we do not consider MRI necessary in the routine follow-up of patients with an uneventful recovery.