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J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2016 Jun;41(5):527-33. doi: 10.1177/1753193415618391. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Histological assessment of the triangular fibrocartilage complex.

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Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, UniversityHospital 'Carl Gustav Carus', Dresden, Germany.
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Institut Kaplan, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, Barcelona, Spain Departamento de Anatomía, Universidad de Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, UniversityHospital 'Carl Gustav Carus', Dresden, Germany Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, Burn Unit, Trauma Center Bergmannstrost, Halle (Saale), Germany


The morphological structure of the seven components of triangular fibrocartilage complexes of 11 cadaver wrists of elderly people was assessed microscopically, after staining with Hematoxylin-Eosin and Elastica van Gieson. The articular disc consisted of tight interlaced fibrocartilage without blood vessels except in its ulnar part. Volar and dorsal radioulnar ligaments showed densely parallel collagen bundles. The subsheath of the extensor carpi ulnaris muscle, the ulnotriquetral and ulnolunate ligament showed mainly mixed tight and loose parallel tissue. The ulnolunate ligament contained tighter parallel collagen bundles and clearly less elastic fibres than the ulnotriquetral ligament. The ulnocarpal meniscoid had an irregular morphological composition and loose connective tissue predominated. The structure of the articular disc indicates a buffering function. The tight structure of radioulnar and ulnolunate ligaments reflects a central stabilizing role, whereas the ulnotriquetral ligament and ulnocarpal meniscoid have less stabilizing functions.


Histology; elastic fibres; structural composition; triangular fibrocartilage complex

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