Carpal stability depends on the integrity of both intra-articular and intracapsular carpal ligaments. In this review, the role of the radial-sided and ulnar-sided extrinsic and intrinsic ligaments is described, as well as their advanced imaging using magnetic resonance arthrography (MRA) and contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with three-dimensional (3D) scapholunate complex sequences and thin slices. In the last decade, the new concept of a so-called "scapholunate complex" has emerged among hand surgeons, just as the triangular ligament became known as the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC).The scapholunate ligament complex comprises the intrinsic scapholunate (SL), the extrinsic palmar radiocarpal: radioscaphocapitate (RSC), long radiolunate (LRL), short radiolunate (SRL) ligaments, the extrinsic dorsal radiocarpal (DRC) ligament, the dorsal intercarpal (DIC) ligament, as well as the dorsal capsular scapholunate septum (DCSS), a more recently described anatomical structure, and the intrinsic palmar midcarpal scaphotrapeziotrapezoid (STT) ligament complex. The scapholunate (SL) ligament complex is one of the most involved in wrist injuries. Its stability depends on primary (SL ligament) and secondary (RSC, DRC, DIC, STT ligaments) stabilizers.The gold standard for carpal ligament assessment is still diagnostic arthroscopy for many hand surgeons. To avoid surgery as a diagnostic procedure, advanced MRI is needed to detect associated lesions (sprains, midsubstance tears, avulsions and chronic fibrous infiltrations) of the extrinsic, midcarpal and intrinsic wrist ligaments, which are demonstrated in this article using 3D and two-dimensional sequences with thin slices (0.4 and 2 mm thick, respectively).
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- intra-articular carpal ligaments
- intracapsular carpal ligaments
- magnetic resonance arthrography
- contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging