Triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries are one of the most common causes of ulnar-sided wrist pain. Although pain and discomfort may improve with simple immobilization for a short period of time, a significant number of patients eventually require surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of surgical intervention on patients with a clinical diagnosis of a triangular fibrocartilage complex injury. A retrospective chart review was performed to identify patients with ulnar-sided wrist pain identified with the appropriate ICD-9 code from September 2005 to September 2007. All patients were evaluated and treated by a board-certified, fellowship-trained hand surgeon. Any patients with associated pathology were excluded from the study. All patients were initially treated with a minimum of 4 weeks of either a volar wrist splint worn all the time or a short-arm cast. Magnetic resonance images were obtained on patients without symptomatic relief, and in these cases, surgical arthroscopy was performed. Of the 84 patients identified, 36 patients required surgical intervention. All 36 patients had evidence of triangular fibrocartilage complex injury during arthroscopy. All patients had symptomatic improvement postoperatively. The use of short-arm cast versus a splint did not affect the rate of surgical intervention (P=.38). Among the patients with clinical diagnosis of triangular fibrocartilage complex injury, the rate of surgical intervention required after a minimum 4 weeks of immobilization was 43%. The use of a short-arm cast or volar wrist splint did not affect the rate of surgical intervention.
View details for DOI 10.3928/01477447-20100924-03
View details for PubMedID 21053893