Arthrography of the wrist: Assessment of the integrity of the ligaments in young asymptomatic adults

D. Kirschenbaum, S. Sieler, D. Solonick, D. M. Loeb, R. P. Cody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Fifty-two asymptomatic adults who were between twenty and thirty-five years old had arthrography of the wrist with use of a single injection into the radiocarpal joint. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the integrity of the triangular fibrocartilage, the scapholunate ligament, and the lunotriquetral ligament. Contrast medium was injected under fluoroscopic guidance, and posteroanterior and lateral radiographs of the wrist were made after the subjects had performed exercises of the wrist. No patient who had a history of trauma to the wrist, pain in the wrist, or inflammatory arthritis was included in the study. All of the subjects had an examination of both upper extremities that included measurement of the active motion of the wrist with a goniometer, strength-testing with a Jamar dynamometer, ballottement and testing for impingement, and palpation for tenderness. Plain radiographs were evaluated, and the ulnar variance was recorded. The arthrograms revealed an abnormal communication of the contrast medium in fourteen wrists (27 per cent), and four of the fourteen had multiple areas of communication. The abnormal communication was through the triangular fibrocartilage alone in six wrists, the scapholunate ligament alone in two wrists, the lunotriquetral ligament alone in two wrists, and in more than one of these areas in four wrists. A positive arthrogram was associated with a greater positive ulnar variance. All of the subjects had symmetrical motion of the wrists and grip strength, and none of them had tenderness in the wrist. There were no complications related to the arthrography. Perforation of a ligament in the wrist is common in young asymptomatic adults. The usefulness of arthrography of the wrist may be limited by an apparent lack of specificity with regard to the underlying pathological condition. The importance of a positive arthrographic study remains unclear, and if arthrography is used the results should be correlated with other clinical parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1209
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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