Background: Peripheral triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tears may induce instability of the distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ). In this biomechanical study, simulated peripheral tears of the TFCC were examined on the stability of the DRUJ. Restabilization effect of the DRUJ by ulnar shortening and direct repair of those injuries were sequentially examined. Method: The DRUJ stiffness was measured in intact, simulated two types of peripheral tears (ulnar and extended ulnodorsal) at three forearm positions: neutral, 60° pronation and 60° supination in 8 fresh frozen cadaver specimens. After the tears were sutured with stitches or after simulated ulnar shortening of 3 mm, the DRUJ stiffness was again measured. Results: The ulnar and ulnodorsal TFCC tears decreased the DRUJ stiffness significantly compared with the intact in all forearm positions. When ulnar shortening was done for the ulnar tear, the DRUJ stiffness increased significantly in the neutral and 60° pronated positions. When the ulnar TFCC tear was repaired, the DRUJ stiffness increased significantly in all forearm positions. DRUJ stiffness did not increase either with ulnar shortening or repair in ulnodorsal tear of the TFCC, however. Conclusion: The simulated TFCC tears indicated significant loss of DRUJ stiffness. Direct repair or ulnar shortening was effective only on treatment of the ulnar tear of the TFCC in this study.
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