Long-Term Outcomes of Dorsal Intercarpal Ligament Capsulodesis for Chronic Scapholunate Dissociation

Varun K. Gajendran, Brett Peterson, Robert R. Slater, Robert M Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chronic scapholunate dissociation is the most common cause of symptomatic wrist instability. In an attempt to restore normal carpal mechanics and prevent wrist arthrosis, we developed and tested biomechanically the dorsal intercarpal ligament capsulodesis (DILC). Previously, we reported good early clinical results for this procedure at an average follow-up period of 25 months. Here, we report on the functional and radiographic outcomes at a longer follow-up period of a minimum of 5 years. Methods: Records of patients undergoing the DILC for chronic (greater than 6 weeks), flexible, static scapholunate dissociation were reviewed. Only patients with follow-up evaluation of greater than 60 months were included. Physical examination, radiographs, and validated outcome instruments were used to evaluate the patients. Results: Twenty-one patients (22 wrists) met the inclusion criteria. Fifteen of 21 patients (16 wrists) were available for follow-up evaluation. Average follow-up period was 86 months. Physical examination revealed average wrist flexion and extension of 50° and 55°, respectively, radial and ulnar deviation of 17° and 36°, respectively, and grip strength of 43 kgf. Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand, Short Form-12, and Mayo wrist scores averaged 19, 78, and 78, respectively. Radiographs revealed an average scapholunate angle and gap of 62° and 3.5 mm, respectively. Eight of the 16 wrists in our study demonstrated arthritic changes on radiographs. Conclusions: The DILC does not consistently prevent radiographic deterioration and the development of arthrosis in the long-term; however, the level of functionality and patient satisfaction remained relatively high in 58% of our patients, suggesting a lack of correlation between the radiographic findings and development of arthrosis and the functional outcomes and patient satisfaction. We believe that the DILC is still a reasonable option for treating flexible static scapholunate dissociation in patients without radiographic signs of arthritis presenting with wrist pain despite conservative treatment. Prevention of radiographic deterioration and arthrosis remains an unsolved problem. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1333
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Arthritis
  • capsulodesis
  • carpal instability
  • scapholunate
  • wrist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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