Purpose: The recent ability to measure 3-dimensional in vivo carpal kinematics has facilitated the noninvasive study of complex carpal bone motion.
Methods: In this study we examined the flexion/extension carpal kinematics of both wrists in 8 patients with unilateral scapholunate interosseous ligament (SLIL) tears by using computed tomographic (CT) imaging and a markerless bone registration technique. Carpal bone neutral posture and flexion/extension motion of both wrists of the injured patients were compared with the same parameters in wrists of 10 uninjured male and female volunteers (normals).
Results: The neutral posture of the injured scaphoid and lunate were significantly more extended than those of normals. In these patients, however, the postures of the scaphoid and lunate in the contralateral uninjured wrists also were abnormal and were similar to those of the injured wrist. In addition, extension of the lunate and flexion of the scaphoid in both the injured and uninjured wrist were significantly different from normal but not different from each other.
Conclusions: This study was unable to attribute altered carpal posture and motion to SLIL tears because abnormalities were found in both wrists of patients with unilateral injury. The etiology of abnormal wrist kinematics in the asymptomatic wrist of patients with unilateral tears of the scapholunate ligament is not known.