Results of Arthroscopic Repair of Peripheral Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear With Exploration of Dorsal Sensory Branch of Ulnar Nerve

Alvin Chao-Yu Chen*, Chun-Jui Weng, Chih-Hao Chiu, Shih-Sheng Chang, Chun-Ying Cheng, Yi-Sheng Chan
Bone and Joint Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Linkou & University College of Medicine; Taiwan, Republic of China

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© 2017 Chen et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Bone and Joint Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Linkou 5th, Fu-Shin Street, Kweishan Dist, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan, Republic of China; Tel: +886-3-3281200, Ext. 3882, Fax: +886-3-32781134; E-mail:



Ulnar-sided approach in arthroscopic triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) repair may jeopardize treatment success by exposing the dorsal sensory branch of ulnar nerve (DSBUN) in risk of injury. We aim to conduct a follow-up assessment of arthroscopic outside-in TFCC repair and efficacy of sensory nerve exploration.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of 58 patients (59 wrists) who received arthroscopic repair of the peripheral attachment of the TFCC. Ulnar-sided skin incision and exploration of DSBUN were performed before arthroscopy setting. Arthroscopic outside-in repair through pullout suture ligation was performed. Functional survey at 6 months and 1 year postoperatively was based on Mayo Modified Wrist Score (MMWS), and compared to the preoperative assessment. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered significant as calculated using paired t-test.


Postoperative MMWS averaged 74.32±11.50 at 6 months, and 84.41±9.52 at one year; both showed significant difference as compared to preoperative status. Significant improvement was noted in all 4 individual items except motion retrieval between 6 months and 1 year. Totally, 45 (76%) cases achieved good or excellent results at one year; however, less patients resumed pre-injury activity level when treatment delay was more than 6 months than those treated earlier (41% vs. 57%). Complication included 6 transient paresthesia; 1 anchor migration and 1 distal radioulnar arthrosis. No more nerve complication was found after modification of perineural dissection.


Arthroscopy is effective in obtaining both correct diagnosis and treatment of peripheral TFCC tear. Modified perineural dissection can minimize sensory nerve complications.

Keywords: Arthroscopy, Dorsal sensory branch of ulnar nerve (DSBUN), Paresthesia, Peripheral tear, Triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC), Wrist score.