Dorsal Tear of Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex: Clinical Features and Treatment
04 August 2015
03 November 2015
06 January 2016 (online)
Background Several different triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tear patterns have been classified through the use of wrist arthroscopy. A tear of the dorsal aspect of the TFCC has been previously reported, but it is not included in Palmer original classification. Our purpose was to describe this type of tear pattern along with the clinical presentation.
Methods An isolated dorsal TFCC tear was encountered in seven wrists of six patients (three men and three women; average age was 31 years). All patients were evaluated by physical exam, X-ray, plain axial computed tomography with pronation, neutral and supination position, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with coronal, sagittal, and axial section and arthroscopy.
Results The clinical findings varied and included the following: tenderness at the dorsoulnar aspect of the wrist was positive in all wrists, fovea sign was positive in five wrists, and tenderness at the dorsal aspect of the distal radioulnar joint was present in one wrist. Pain with forearm rotation was positive in all wrists. The ulnar head ballottement test induced pain in all wrists, whereas dorsal instability of the ulnar head was present in one wrist with this test. The ulnocarpal stress test was positive in five wrists. Axial and sagittal images on MRI revealed the dorsal tear in five wrists. All wrists were treated with an arthroscopic capsular repair. The final functional outcome at an average follow-up of 16.1 months was four excellent and one good wrist according to the modified Mayo wrist score.
Conclusions The aim of this article is to describe our experiences with tears involving the dorsal aspect of the TFCC, which may be misdiagnosed if the surgeon is not cognizant of this injury.
Type of study/level of evidence Diagnostic/level IV
This clinical investigation was conducted with the approval of our institutional review board.
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