Aim: To review the published diagnostic performance statistics for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the wrist for tears of the triangular fibrocartilage complex, the intrinsic carpal ligaments, and for osteonecrosis of the carpal bones.
Materials and methods: We used Medline and Embase to search the English language literature. Studies evaluating the diagnostic performance of MRI of the wrist in living patients with surgical confirmation of MR findings were identified.
Results: We identified 11 studies reporting the diagnostic performance of MRI for tears of the triangular fibrocartilage complex for a total of 410 patients, six studies for the scapho-lunate ligament (159 patients), six studies for the luno-triquetral ligament (142 patients) and four studies (56 patients) for osteonecrosis of the carpal bones.
Conclusions: Magnetic resonance imaging is an accurate means of diagnosing tears of the triangular fibrocartilage and carpal osteonecrosis. Although MRI is highly specific for tears of the intrinsic carpal ligaments, its sensitivity is low. The diagnostic performance of MRI in the wrist is improved by using high-resolution T2* weighted 3D gradient echo sequences. Using current imaging techniques without intra-articular contrast medium, magnetic resonance imaging cannot reliably exclude tears of the intrinsic carpal ligaments. Hobby, J. L. (2001). Clinical Radiology, 56, 50-57.
Copyright 2001 The Royal College of Radiologists.