To investigate changes in the lengths of selected carpal ligaments during wrist radioulnar deviation in vivo.
We studied in vivo changes in the lengths of fibers of 5 palmar and dorsal intracapsular ligaments of the wrist during radioulnar deviation in 6 wrists of healthy volunteers using a noninvasive approach. Using serial computed tomography scans and volume registration techniques, the carpal kinematics were examined at 4 positions, from 40° ulnar deviation to 20° radial deviation, in 20° increments. The 3-dimensional structures of the carpal bones, distal radius and ulna, and metacarpal bones were reconstructed using customized software. We modeled the paths of fibers of 5 palmar and dorsal carpal ligaments: radioscaphocapitate (RSC), long radiolunate (LRL), ulnocapitate (UC), dorsal intercarpal (DIC), and dorsal radiocarpal (DRC) ligaments. We analyzed changes in the lengths of these ligaments during wrist radioulnar deviation.
During wrist ulnar deviation, the RSC, LRL, and DIC ligaments lengthened significantly. During radial deviation, the UC and DRC ligaments lengthened significantly. Compared with their lengths at the neutral position of the carpus, the LRL ligament showed the greatest elongation rate at wrist ulnar deviation, and the DRC ligament showed the greatest elongation rate at wrist radial deviation among the 5 ligaments studied.
Among ligaments measured, the RSC, LRL, and DIC ligaments are tensed during wrist ulnar deviation. The UC and DRC ligaments are tensed during wrist radial deviation. Results of this in vivo study suggest that radial or ulnar deviation may predispose some carpal ligaments to excessive tensile load. The finding that the ligaments undergo different elongation rates during wrist motion may also indicate their roles in maintaining normal wrist kinematics.
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Accepted: November 14, 2008
Received: August 14, 2008
Supported by grants from the Health Bureau of Jiangsu Province, the Fund to Jiangsu Hand Surgery Center, and the Department Fund of the Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
© 2009 American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.