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Ultrasound of intrinsic wrist ligament and triangular fibrocartilage injuries

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The objective of this study was to evaluate ultrasound as a diagnostic tool for investigating scapholunate and lunatotriquetral ligamentous and triangular fibrocartilage (TFC) tears. Ultrasound findings were compared to conventional arthrogram findings, as the reference gold standard.

Design and patients

In total 26 patients, 17 males and 9 females ranging in age from 17 to 35 (mean age, 34), were evaluated on referral for investigation of wrist pain. All patients were examined by high resolution ultrasound, using a 9–13 MHz transducer. All wrist ultrasound examinations were also compared to conventional tricompartmental arthrography, as the diagnostic gold standard reference.


All ten scapholunate tears confirmed on arthrography were detected on ultrasound. Two of 8 lunatotriquetral and 7 of 11 TFC tears were correctly diagnosed on ultrasound. Sensitivity of ultrasound diagnosis ranged from 25% for lunatotriquetral tears to 100% for scapholunate tears. No false positive results were recorded for any of the three examined structures.


The study results suggest that sonography is accurate for scapholunate tears, but is not accurate for evaluation of lunate-triquetral tears. It has intermediate accuracy for triangular fibrocartilage tears.

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We wish to thank Bruce Weaver of the Department of Epidemiology at McMaster University. Patient data was collected from Guelph General Hospital, 115 Delhi St., Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1E 4J4 and Henderson General Hospital, 711 Concession St., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8 V 1C3

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Finlay, K., Lee, R. & Friedman, L. Ultrasound of intrinsic wrist ligament and triangular fibrocartilage injuries. Skeletal Radiol 33, 85–90 (2004).

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