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Arthroscopic diagnosis of intra-articular soft tissue injuries associated with distal radial fractures.

Arthroscopy was used to assess the soft tissue injuries associated with distal radial fractures in 118 acute intra- and extra-articular fractures. The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) was torn in 46 of 118 patients--in 35% of intra-articular fractures and in 53% of extra-articular fractures. No correlation between ulnar styloid fractures and TFCC injuries could be found. Scapholunate (SL) ligament injuries with instability were present in 21.5% of intra-articular fractures and in 6.7% of extra-articular fractures. Lunotriquetral (LT) ligament injuries with instability were present in 6.7% of intra-articular fractures. and in 13.3% of extra-articular fractures. Combined SL and LT injuries were present in 5.6% of intra-articular fracture. Preoperative radiographs correlated with TFCC injury. Patients with TFCC tears had greater shortening and dorsal angulation on the preoperative radiographs. Preoperative radiographs had no predictive value for interosseous ligament injury. Ligamentous injuries are commonly associated with both intra-articular and extra-articular distal radial fractures.

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