Digital subtraction arthrography of the wrist.
R J Belsole ; S F Quinn ; T L Greene ; M E Beatty ; J M Rayhack

Abstract

Digital subtraction arthrography of the wrist was used to identify abnormalities in eighty-six (60 per cent) of 139 patients during a fifteen-month period. Multiple abnormalities were noted in thirty-four (25 per cent) of the wrists. The clinical signs and symptoms in the eighty-six wrists did not always correlate with the defects that were seen on the arthrograms. Three of five patients who had an isolated tear of the scapholunate ligament, six of thirteen who had an isolated tear of the lunotriquetral ligament, and seven of nineteen who had an isolated tear of the triangular fibrocartilage complex also had signs and symptoms on the opposite side of the wrist. Many of the lesions that were seen on arthrography may have been serendipitous, degenerative, or unrelated to a specific injury. There was a high prevalence of positive ulnar variance in patients who had at least one ulnar abnormality. Capsular tears, most often seen on the radiovolar aspect of the wrist, were best outlined by contrast medium injected into the radiocarpal joint. The arthroscopic findings differed from the arthrographic findings in five of the twenty patients in whom both studies were done. The three-compartment technique of injection is a valuable diagnostic tool. Injections of contrast medium into the distal radio-ulnar joint outlined five of thirteen tears of the triangular fibrocartilage complex that were not seen after injection into the radiocarpal joint. Of the eleven tears that were seen after injection into the radiocarpal joint, five were not seen when contrast medium was injected into the distal radio-ulnar joint.