Characteristics of Triangular Fibrocartilage Defects in Symptomatic and Contralateral Asymptomatic Wrists1
To characterize triangular fibrocartilage (TFC) defects in symptomatic and contralateral asymptomatic wrists. Communicating and noncommunicating defects of the TFC were depicted on bilateral wrist arthrograms in 56 patients with unilateral wrist pain and without associated lesions of the scapholunate or lunotriquetral ligaments. The exact location of each TFC lesion was noted. Communicating defects were noted in 36 (64%) of 56 symptomatic and in 26 (46%) of 56 asymptomatic wrists. Twenty-five (69%) of 36 communicating defects were bilateral. Except for one defect in each group of symptomatic and asymptomatic wrists, all communicating defects were noted radially. Noncommunicating defects were noted in 28 (50%) of 56 symptomatic wrists and in 15 (27%) of 56 asymptomatic wrists. Eleven (39%) of 28 noncommunicating defects were bilateral. On the symptomatic side, 28 of 36 noncommunicating defects (including eight multiple defects) were located proximally at the ulnar side. On the asymptomatic side, 11 of 17 noncommunicating defects (including two multiple defects) were at or near the ulna. Noncommunicating TFC defects, which typically are located on the proximal side of the TFC near its ulnar attachment, have a more reliable association with symptomatic wrists than do communicating defects. Radial-sided communicating defects described in the literature (Palmer type 1A and 1D) as posttraumatic commonly are seen bilaterally and in asymptomatic wrists.