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J Hand Surg Am. 2003 Jan;28(1):81-7.

In vivo analysis of carpal kinematics and comparative review of the literature.

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Departments of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Techniques have been developed very recently with which it is possible to quantify accurately in vivo 3-dimensional (3-D) carpal kinematics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of our novel 3-D registration technique by comparing our data with data found in the literature.


The right wrists of 11 healthy volunteers were imaged by spiral computed tomography (CT) during radial-ulnar deviation and 5 of those wrists were imaged also during flexion-extension motion. With a matching technique relative translations and rotations of the carpal bones were traced. We compared our in vivo results with data presented in the literature.


We found our in vivo data largely to concur with in vitro data presented in the literature. In vivo studies revealed only larger out-of-plane motions within the proximal carpal row than described in most in vitro studies. In vivo studies also showed larger interindividual variations.


A single functional model of carpal kinematics could not be determined. We expect that in vivo 3-D CT studies on carpal kinematics, especially when applied to dynamic wrist motion, will have future diagnostic applications and provide information on long-term results of surgical interventions.

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