A Systematic Review of Outcomes after Arthroscopic Débridement for Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear : Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Hand/Peripheral Nerve: Original Articles

A Systematic Review of Outcomes after Arthroscopic Débridement for Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear

Saito, Taichi M.D., Ph.D.; Malay, Sunitha; Chung, Kevin C. M.D., M.S.

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 140(5):p 697e-708e, November 2017. | DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000003750



Evidence regarding the effectiveness of arthroscopic débridement for a triangular fibrocartilage complex tear is uncertain. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of débridement for triangular fibrocartilage complex tears.


The authors searched all available literature in the PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE (Ovid) databases for articles reporting on triangular fibrocartilage complex tear débridement. Data collection included arc of motion, grip strength, patient-reported outcomes, and complications.


A total of 1723 unique studies were identified, of which 18 studies met the authors’ criteria. The mean before and after arc of wrist extension/flexion motion values were 120 and 146 degrees (six studies). The mean before and after grip strength values were 65 percent and 91 percent of the contralateral side (10 studies). Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand scores (six studies) and pain visual analogue scale scores (seven studies) improved from 39 to 18, and from 7 to 3, respectively. The mean pain visual analogue scale score after débridement was 1.9 in the ulnar-positive group and 2.4 in the ulnar-neutral and ulnar-negative groups. Eighty-seven percent of patients returned to their original work.


Patients reported reduced pain and improved functional and patient-reported outcomes after débridement of triangular fibrocartilage complex tears. Most patients after débridement returned to previous work, with few complications. Although some of these cases may require secondary procedures, simple débridement can be performed with suitable satisfactory outcomes for cases with any type of ulnar variance.

Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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