Four thousand wrist x-ray films were reviewed to establish the pattern of sequential changes in degenerative arthritis of the wrist. After eliminating all other arthritides, we studied 210 cases of degenerative arthritis. The most common pattern (57%) was arthritis between the scaphoid, lunate, and radius; 27% of cases occurred between the scaphoid, trapezium, and trapezoid; a combination of these two patterns occurred in 15%. Twenty operations were performed on 19 patients with the scapholunate advanced collapse pattern. Eighteen of 19 patients had less pain postoperatively and none required pain medication. Flexion-extension and radial-ulnar deviation motions showed considerable improvement after the operation.