What Is the Effect of the Ulnar-Plus Variance on the Outcomes of Arthroscopic Repair of the Peripheral Ulnar-Side Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Tear?


      To compare the outcomes of arthroscopic repair of peripheral ulnar-side triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) tears between patients with and without ulnar-plus variance (UPV) and to identify factors associated with index surgery failure in these patients.


      We retrospectively analyzed 50 consecutive patients who underwent arthroscopic repair of peripheral ulnar-side TFCC tears from June 2014 to February 2018. We selected patients who were aged at least 18 years and underwent arthroscopic repair of peripheral ulnar-side TFCC tears. We excluded those with a fractured or dislocated wrist, ulnar impaction syndrome, degenerative or inflammatory arthritis of the wrist, or neurologic conditions that affect upper-extremity function, as well as those who received less than 12 months’ follow-up. We evaluated the patients with a visual analog scale for pain in 3 domains (overall, with hard work, and at rest), the Patient-rated Wrist Evaluation, range of motion, and grip strength. Clinical outcomes and arthroscopic findings were compared between patients with and without UPV (UPV group and non-UPV group, respectively). We calculated the relative risk and 95% confidence interval for younger age (<30 years), sex, UPV, and coexisting degenerative central TFCC tear (type 2 tear) to determine the risk factors for arthroscopic repair failure.


      No significant differences were noted between the 2 groups regarding visual analog scale pain and Patient-rated Wrist Evaluation scores and rates of excellent or improved outcomes (P > .05). Arthroscopic repair failure was found in 4 patients. A coexisting type 2 TFCC tear was the only significant risk factor (relative risk, 49.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.94-83.96; P = .007) for arthroscopic repair failure.


      UPV did not significantly affect the outcomes of arthroscopic repair of peripheral ulnar-side TFCC tears. However, coexisting type 2 TFCC tears significantly increased the risk of index surgery failure in these patients.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV, prognostic study.
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