Arthroscopic capsular release for contracture of the wrist: a new technique

Verhellen R, Bain GI

Modbury Public Hospital, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

SUMMARY: Stiffness of the wrist can occur following trauma or surgery. In some patients, loss of motion may be refractory to conservative treatment and operative treatment may thus be indicated. The authors report the results and technique of arthroscopic capsular release of the wrist.

A cadaveric study was performed to assess the safety of arthroscopic capsular release. Arthroscopic capsular release was performed on 2 patients with limited wrist mobility.

The average distance from the radiocarpal joint capsule to the neurovascular structures were 6.9 mm to the median nerve, 6.7 mm to the ulnar nerve and 5.2 mm to the radial artery. At 6 months follow-up, the average range of motion had improved from 17 degrees flexion and 10 degrees extension to 47 degrees flexion and 50 degrees extension.

The average grip strength had improved from 13 to 31 kg. Pain measured on a visual analogue score (0-10) had improved from 1.5 to 1.0. There were no complications. Arthroscopic capsular release of the wrist is a safe and minimally invasive technique that provides good improvement to range of motion.

Arthroscopy 2000 Jan-Feb;16(1):106-10

Back