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Arthroscopy. 2008 Mar;24(3):343-54. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2007.10.006. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

Current concepts in wrist arthroscopy.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.


The purpose of this article is to review the recent literature on arthroscopic treatment of distal radius fractures (DRFs), triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries, intercarpal ligament injuries, and ganglion cysts, including the use of electrothermal devices. A major advantage of arthroscopy in the treatment of DRFs is the accurate assessment of the status of the articular surfaces and the detection of concomitant injuries. Nonrandomized studies of arthroscopically assisted reduction of DRFs show satisfactory results, but there is only 1 prospective randomized study showing the benefits of arthroscopy compared with open reduction-internal fixation. Wrist arthroscopy plays an important role as part of the treatment for DRFs; however, the treatment for each practitioner and each patient needs to be individualized. Wrist arthroscopy is the gold standard in the diagnosis and treatment of triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries. Type 1A injuries may be successfully treated with debridement, whereas the repair of type 1B, 1C, and 1D injuries gives satisfactory results. For type 2 injuries, the arthroscopic wafer procedure is equally effective as ulnar shortening osteotomy but is associated with fewer complications in the ulnar positive wrist. With interosseous ligament injuries, arthroscopic visualization provides critical diagnostic value. Debridement and pinning in the acute setting of complete ligament tears are promising and proven. In the chronic patient, arthroscopy can guide reconstructive options based on cartilage integrity. The preliminary results of wrist arthroscopy using electrothermal devices are encouraging; however, complications have been reported, and therefore, their use is controversial. In dorsal wrist ganglia, arthroscopy has shown excellent results, a lower rate of recurrence, and no incidence of scapholunate interosseous ligament instability compared with open ganglionectomy. Arthroscopy in the treatment of volar wrist ganglia has yielded encouraging preliminary results; however, further studies are warranted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of arthroscopy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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