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J Hand Surg Am. 1998 Jul;23(4):607-11.

A biomechanical assessment of ligaments preventing dorsoradial subluxation of the trapeziometacarpal joint.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Degenerative arthritis of the trapeziometacarpal joint is commonly associated with ligament laxity and joint subluxation. Specifically, key pinch in an affected joint often results in dorsoradial joint subluxation. This study examined the role the 4 ligaments of the trapeziometacarpal joint play in preventing dorsoradial subluxation. Six fresh-frozen cadaver hands were dissected of all soft tissue to expose the joint capsule and ligaments of the trapeziometacarpal joint. Serial random sectioning of the intermetacarpal ligament, anterior oblique ligament, palmar oblique ligament, and dorsoradial collateral ligament (RCL) was performed. Dorsoradial displacement of the metacarpal shaft in relation to the trapezium was measured using a linear variable dimension transformer. In all 6 specimens, sectioning of the RCL resulted in the greatest dorsoradial subluxation of the metacarpal. The mean displacement due to sectioning of the RCL was 1.4 mm, compared with 0.08 mm for the intermetacarpal ligament, 0.06 mm for the anterior oblique ligament, and 0.2 mm for the palmar oblique ligament. The importance of the RCL in preventing dorsoradial subluxation may have clinical significance. This study suggests that repairing or reconstructing the RCL during ligament reconstruction of the trapeziometacarpal joint should be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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