Long-term results of dorsal intercarpal ligament capsulodesis for the treatment of chronic scapholunate instability

K. Megerle, D. Bertel, G. Germann, M. Lehnhardt, S. Hellmich


The purpose of this study was to assess the clinical and radiological outcomes of dorsal intercarpal ligament capsulodesis for the treatment of static scapholunate instability at a minimum follow-up of four years. A total of 59 patients who underwent capsulodesis for this condition were included in a retrospective analysis after a mean of 8.25 years (4.3 to 12). A total of eight patients underwent a salvage procedure at a mean of 2.33 years (0.67 to 7.6) and were excluded. The mean range of extension/flexion was 88° (15° to 135°) and of ulnar/radial deviation was 38° (0° to 75°) at final follow-up. The mean Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score and Mayo wrist scores were 28 (0 to 85) and 61 (0 to 90), respectively. After significant improvement immediately post-operatively (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively), the mean scapholunate and radiolunate angles deteriorated to 70° (40° to 90°) and 8° (-15° to 25°), respectively, at final follow-up, which were not significantly different from their pre-operative values (p = 0.6 and p = 0.4, respectively). The mean carpal height index decreased significantly from 1.53 (1.38 to 1.65) to 1.48 (1.29 to 1.65) indicating progressive carpal collapse (p < 0.001); 40 patients (78%) had radiological evidence of degenerative arthritis.

Capsulodesis did not maintain carpal reduction over time. Although the consequent ongoing scapholunate instability resulted in early arthritic degeneration, most patients had acceptable long-term function of the wrist.


  • No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

  • Supplementary material. A further opinion by Dr Steven Moran is available with the electronic version of this article on our website at www.boneandjoint.org.uk/site/education/further_op

  • Received May 7, 2012.
  • Accepted September 5, 2012.
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