The Effect of Radioscapholunate Fusion With and Without Distal Scaphoid and Triquetrum Excision on Capitolunate Contact Pressures

Sean M. McNary, Nasser Heyrani, Ido Volk, Robert M. Szabo, Christopher O. Bayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the effects of motion-increasing modifications to radioscapholunate (RSL) arthrodesis on capitolunate contact pressure in cadaveric wrist specimens. Methods: Ten fresh-frozen cadaveric wrists were dissected of all superficial soft tissue, potted in polymethyl-methacrylate, and the carpus exposed via a ligament-sparing capsulotomy. An RSL arthrodesis was simulated using 2 2.4-mm distal radius plates with locking screws. The distal scaphoid pole and triquetrum were removed with an osteotome and rongeur, respectively. Contact area, pressure, and force were measured in the capitolunate joint during the application of a 35-N uniaxial load using pressure-sensitive film. Measurements were obtained before and after simulated RSL fusion, following distal scaphoidectomy and after triquetrectomy. Results: The combination of RSL fusion with distal scaphoid excision (DSE) increased contact forces in the capitolunate joint by 50% over controls. An RSL fusion, and RSL fusion with DSE and triquetrum excision (TE), exhibited intermediate levels of contact force between controls and RSL fusion with DSE. Capitolunate contact pressures were similar between all experimental groups. Contact area in the capitolunate joint increased by 43% after RSL fusion with DSE over intact specimen controls. Lastly, contact area in wrists with RSL fusion, and RSL fusion with DSE and TE, were elevated, but not significantly different from intact controls. Conclusions: A DSE performed at the time of RSL fusion results in increased midcarpal joint contact force and area, with resultant contact pressures unchanged. Triquetrectomy, which has been previously shown to improve range of motion, did not increase contact forces in the capitolunate joint. Clinical relevance: If a surgeon is contemplating performing an RSL arthrodesis with DSE, we recommend adding a triquetrectomy to improve motion because this does not add to the potentially deleterious effects of increased midcarpal contact force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Capitolunate joint
  • contact pressure
  • distal scaphoid excision
  • radioscapholunate arthrodesis
  • triquetrum excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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