Purpose: To define the mechanism of ulnar-sided perilunate instability using a cadaveric model and correlate these biomechanical findings with 6 clinical cases. Methods: We mounted 16 fresh-frozen human cadaver arms and loaded them to failure in extension and radial deviation, recreating our understanding of the injury mechanism leading to ulnar-sided perilunate instability of the wrist. After testing, we examined the wrists clinically and radiographically. We identified, examined, and treated 6 patients with ulnar-sided perilunate instability over a period of 5 years. Based on these data, we propose a 3-stage mechanism for ulnar-sided perilunate instability of the wrist. Results: In 13 of 16 specimens, we observed failure of ulnotriquetral, ulnolunate, and ulnocapitate ligaments as well as the dorsal scaphotriquetral and dorsal radiotriquetral ligaments. In 11 of these 13, the lunotriquetral interosseous ligament was disrupted, and in 2 of the 11, a dorsal perilunate dislocation occurred. After comparing these laboratory findings with clinical findings in 6 patients with ulnar-sided perilunate instability, we propose the following 3-stage mechanism for ulnar-sided perilunate instability: stage 1, disruption of the lunotriquetral interosseous ligament; stage 2, stage 1 plus disruption of the ulnolunate, ulnotriquetral, and ulnocapitate ligaments as well as the dorsal scaphotriquetral and radiotriquetral ligaments; and stage 3, stage 2 with progression of the injury through the midcarpal joint plus disruption of the scapholunate and radioscapholunate ligaments, potentially resulting in a dorsal perilunate dislocation. Conclusions: We describe a 3-stage mechanism of ulnar-sided perilunate ligamentous wrist injury that can lead to dorsal perilunate dislocation. We recommend considering ulnar-sided perilunate instability of the wrist in patients with ulnar wrist pain after a fall on the outstretched wrist. Clinical relevance: Ulnar-sided wrist injury can lead to subtle forms of perilunate instability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine