Updated: 5/22/2021

Wrist Arthroscopy

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  • Introduction
    • Plays an important therapeutic and diagnostic role
    • Indications
      • TFCC injuries
      • interosseous ligament injuries
      • anatomic reduction assistance (distal radius, scaphoid fxs)
      • ulnocarpal impaction
      • debridement of chondral lesions
      • removal of loose bodies
      • synovectomy
      • excision of dorsal wrist ganglia
      • assistance in treatment of SNAC and or SLAC wrist
      • septic wrist irrigation and debridement
      • diagnosis in unexplained mechanical wrist pain
  • Positioning and Scope Insertion
    • Patient Position
      • supine, elbow flexed to 90°
      • traction tower with 10lb traction to fingers
    • Landmarks
      • Lister's tubercle
      • Scaphoid, Lunate
      • DRUJ
      • ECU
    • Scope insertion
      • 2.7mm, 30° arthroscope is most common
  • Portals
    • Portals named for relation to extensor wrist compartments
    • Created with sharp skin incision followed by hemostat dissection
    • Radiocarpal Portals
      Portal
      Location, Function
      Structures at Risk
      3-4
      Located just distal (1cm) to Lister tubercle, between EPL and EDC; Established first, primary viewing portal
      EPL and EDC tendons
      4-5
      Located in line with ring finger metacarpal, between EDC and EDM;  Portal for instrumentation, visualization of TFCC
      EDC and EDM tendons
      6R
      Located just radial to ECU tendon; Primary adjunct for visualization and instrumentation, ulnar-sided TFCC repairs
      Dorsal sensory branch of ulnar nerve
      6U
      Located just ulnar to ECU tendon; Primary adjunct for visualization and instrumentation, ulnar-sided TFCC repairs
      Dorsal sensory branch of ulnar nerve
      1-2
      Located between APL and ECRB, along dorsal aspect of snuffbox; Not often utilized, provides access to radial styloid and radial aspect of joint, sometimes used for inflow
      Superficial branch of radial nerve; Radial artery
    • Midcarpal Portals
      (necessary for complete carpal visualization, evaluating for wrist instability, and advanced techniques)
      Portal
      Location, Function
      Structures at Risk
      MCR
      Located 1 cm distal to 3-4 portal along axis of radial border of middle finger metacarpal, between ECRB and EDC. Allows visualization of scapholunate, scaphocapitate, and scaphotrapezoid joints.
      ECRB and EDC tendons
      MCU
      Located 1 cm distal to 4-5 portal along axis of ring finger metacarpal, between EDC and EDM. Allows visualization of lunocapitate, lunotriquetral, and triquetrohamate joints.
      EDC and EDM tendons
      STT
      Located along axis of index finger metacarpal just ulnar to EPL at level of STT joint. Allows visualization of scaphotrapezial and scaphotrapezoid joints.

      ECRB and ECRL tendons
    • First CMC Portals
      Portal
      Location, Function
      Structures at Risk
      1U
      Located on ulnar aspect of EPL at level of first CMC joint (basal joint). Allows diagnosis of DJD of first CMC joint and arthroscopic debridement.
      Superficial sensory branch of radial nerve
      1R
      Located on radial aspect of EPL at level of thumb CMC joint, just volar to APL tendon. Allows diagnosis of DJD of first CMC joint and arthroscopic debridement.
      Superficial sensory branch of radial nerve
  • Rehabilitation
    • Immediate post-operative period
      • cast, splint or soft dressing depending on specific procedure(s) performed
    • Rehabilitation
      • progression depending on specific procedure(s) performed
    • Return to full activity
      • timing depending on specific procedure(s) performed
  • Complications
    • Incidence
      • overall complication rate is 1-2%
    • Dorsal sensory branch of ulnar nerve
      • averages 8mm from 6R portal
      • at risk with establishment of 6U and 6R portals
        • to a lesser extent main ulnar nerve and artery also at risk
      • when performing a TFCC repair, small open incision is typically made prior to knot tying to prevent injury to this nerve.
    • Superficial sensory branch of radial nerve
      • averages 16mm from 3-4 portal
      • at risk during arthroscopy of basal joint, as 1U and 1R portals are on either side of the first branch of this nerve
      • at risk during placement of 1-2 portal
    • Radial artery Injury
      • associated with establishment 1-2 portal, used for arthroscopic radial styloidectomy.
      • dorsal branch at risk with CMC portals
    • Extensor tendon injury
      • most commonly EPL and EDM due to improper portal placement
    • Chondral injuries
      • iatrogenic from scope or instrument placement
    • Portal site infection
    • Stiffness
    • MCPJ pain
      • typically caused by over-distraction
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(OBQ12.98) A 22-year-old man presents with pain and hyperesthesias in the dorsoradial wrist and thumb 6 months after undergoing wrist arthroscopy for an acute wrist injury. Placement of which of the following portals is likely responsible for his symptoms?

QID: 4458
1

6U

1%

(73/5356)

2

6R

11%

(603/5356)

3

1-2

82%

(4409/5356)

4

MCU

2%

(85/5356)

5

4-5

3%

(144/5356)

L 2 C

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EXPERT COMMENTS (12)
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