Arthrography as a Method of Diagnosing Tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of the Metacarpophalangeal Joint of the Thumb (“Gamekeeper's Thumb”)

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Abstract

Arthrography of the metacarpo-phalangeal (MP) joint of the thumb was performed on 47 thumbs. The normal arthrographic appearance shows a closed joint space, whereas leakage of contrast material indicates tear of the joint capsule with or without an associated tear of a stabilizing ligament. Arthrographic demonstration of the heads of the adductor pollicis muscle was found to be specific for tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the MP joint, a tear which is commonly responsible for its instability.

Arthrography is suggested as a safe and accurate diagnostic examination for the early detection of tears of the UCL of the MP joint.

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