Thumb metacarpophalangeal joint morphology and reconstruction of the ruptured ulnar collateral ligament

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2023 Sep;48(8):768-772. doi: 10.1177/17531934231164260. Epub 2023 Apr 2.


Studies on graft reconstruction techniques for ruptured thumb metacarpophalangeal (MCP) ulnar collateral ligaments (UCL) do not consider the variety of MCP joint morphology. Optimal reconstruction method for flat MCP joints is therefore unclear. Twenty-four fresh-frozen, human thumbs were tested for flexion, extension and valgus stability of the MCP joint. After resection of the UCL, four reconstruction methods, differing in the metacarpal origin and phalangeal attachment, were performed on each specimen, which were then tested again in the same way. Specimens were grouped as 'round' or 'flat' depending on morphometric parameters and group differences were analysed. In flat joints, only the non-anatomical Glickel reconstruction and a modified Fairhurst reconstruction maintained normal mobility and stability. In round joints, only the Glickel reconstruction maintained normal mobility and stability. The original Fairhurst method and a modification with the origin palmar in the metacarpus were disadvantageous in both flat and round joints.

Keywords: Gamekeeper’s thumb; MCP; joint morphology; reconstruction; skier’s thumb; ulnar collateral ligament.

MeSH terms

  • Collateral Ligament, Ulnar* / surgery
  • Collateral Ligaments* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Metacarpophalangeal Joint / surgery
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Thumb / surgery