Imaging findings of the distal radio-ulnar joint in trauma
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
JBSR : journal of the Belgian Society of Radiology
, p. 1-20
University of Antwerp
Traumatic lesions of the distal radio-ulnar joint (DRUJ) occur frequently in conjunction with fractures of the distal radius. They are a common cause of pain and limited range of motion after distal radial fractures. Due to the complex anatomy they are however often ignored or underappreciated. Distal radial fractures and luxations of the DRUJ often disturb the normal curvature of the radial notch and cause damage to the cartilage of this joint. The growth of the radius may be disrupted, resulting in a positive ulnar variance, and possibly give rise to complications such as ulnar abutment and motion restriction. Ulnar styloid fractures - sometimes barely visible on plain film - may give rise to symptomatic bony pseudarthrosis, dislocation and laceration of the tendon of the m. extensor carpi ulnaris and a rare posttraumatic deformity of the ulnar epiphysis. Also the possibility of lesions at the adjacent triangular fibrocartilage complex and the joint capsule should be kept in mind. This paper presents a pictorial review of the complex functional anatomy and pathologic conditions of this joint and emphasises why the DRUJ should be evaluated independently and thoroughly. The merit of each imaging modality is mentioned.