Simulated Radioscapholunate Fusion Alters Carpal Kinematics While Preserving Dart-Thrower's Motion

Ryan P. Calfee, Evan L. Leventhal, Jim Wilkerson, Douglas C. Moore, Edward Akelman, Joseph J. Crisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: Midcarpal degeneration is well documented after radioscapholunate fusion. This study tested the hypothesis that radioscapholunate fusion alters the kinematic behavior of the remaining lunotriquetral and midcarpal joints, with specific focus on the dart-thrower's motion. Methods: Simulated radioscapholunate fusions were performed on 6 cadaveric wrists in an anatomically neutral posture. Two 0.060-in. carbon fiber pins were placed from proximal to distal across the radiolunate and radioscaphoid joints, respectively. The wrists were passively positioned in a custom jig toward a full range of motion along the orthogonal axes as well as oblique motions, with additional intermediate positions along the dart-thrower's path. Using a computed tomography-based markerless bone registration technique, each carpal bone's three-dimensional rotation was defined as a function of wrist flexion/extension from the pinned neutral position. Kinematic data was analyzed against data collected on the same wrist prior to fixation using hierarchical linear regression analysis and paired Student's t-tests. Results: After simulated fusion, wrist motion was restricted to an average flexion-extension arc of 48°, reduced from 77°, and radial-ulnar deviation arc of 19°, reduced from 33°. The remaining motion was maximally preserved along the dart-thrower's path from radial-extension toward ulnar-flexion. The simulated fusion significantly increased rotation through the scaphotrapezial joint, scaphocapitate joint, triquetrohamate joint, and lunotriquetral joint. For example, in the pinned wrist, the rotation of the hamate relative to the triquetrum increased 85%. Therefore, during every 10° of total wrist motion, the hamate rotated an average of nearly 8° relative to the triquetrum after pinning versus 4° in the normal state. Conclusions: Simulated radioscapholunate fusion altered midcarpal and lunotriquetral kinematics. The increased rotations across these remaining joints provide one potential explanation for midcarpal degeneration after radioscapholunate fusion. Additionally, this fusion model confirms the dart-thrower's hypothesis, as wrist motion after simulated radioscapholunate fusion was primarily preserved from radial-extension toward ulnar-flexion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Cadaver
  • fusion
  • lunate
  • radius
  • scaphoid


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