RESEARCH ARTICLE

Wrist MRI Arthrogram v Wrist Arthroscopy: What are we Finding?

The Open Orthopaedics Journal 16 May 2012 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874325001206010194

Abstract

The aim of the study was to compare the radiological findings of wrist arthrogram with wrist arthroscopy. This allowed us to establish the accuracy (sensitivity, specificity) of MRI arthrogram as a diagnostic tool. Thirty patients (20 female and 10 male) have undergone both wrist MRI arthrogram and wrist arthroscopy over the last 3 years at a District General Hospital. The mean age at arthrogram was 42.4 years with an average 6.7 month interval between the two procedures.

The MRI arthrogram was reported by a consultant radiologist with an interest in musculoskeletal imaging and the arthroscopies performed by two upper limb surgeons. Patients who underwent both procedures were identified. The arthrogram reports and operation notes were examined for correlation. Three main areas of pathology were consistently examined: TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex), scapholunate and lunotriquetral ligament tears. The sensitivity and specificity of arthrogram was calculated for each. Other areas of pathology were also noted.

In the case of TFCC tears MRI arthrogram had 90% sensitivity and 75% specificity. The lunotriquetral ligament examination with this technique was 100% sensitivity and specificity. However for scapholunate ligament tears it only had 91% sensitivity and 88% specificity.

Wrist arthrogram and arthroscopy are both invasive techniques. In cost terms the arthrogram remains cheaper but is superseded by arthroscopy as it is both diagnostic and therapeutic.

Keywords: Chronic wrist pain, arthrogram, arthroscopy, intrinsic wrist ligaments, magnetic resonance imaging, wrist injuries, wrist joint.
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