Wrist Arthroscopy in Children and Adolescent With Chronic Wrist Pain: Arthroscopic Findings Compared With MRI

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Abstract

Background:

Wrist arthroscopy is a dynamic diagnostic procedure and its indications are growing as a treatment modality in the adult population. The aim of the study was to retrospectively report our series of pediatric and adolescence with chronic wrist pain, with or without wrist instability who underwent wrist arthroscopy after failing at least 4 months of conservative management. Our secondary aim was to report the sensitivity and specificity of clinical examination and magnetic resonance imaging evaluation for various injury subgroups against the gold standard of the arthroscopic findings. Technical challenges, complications, and outcomes are also discussed.

Methods:

A retrospective review of the medical records of 32 pediatric and adolescent patients who underwent wrist arthroscopy was conducted. Preoperative clinical diagnosis, radiographic, and intraoperative findings including classifications of triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) and interosseous ligaments were obtained. Patients were followed up to 1 year postoperatively and were discharged if symptom free.

Results:

Thirty-three wrist arthroscopies in 32 patients were performed from 1996 to 2004. There were 2 male and 30 female patients. At arthroscopy 16 wrists were found to have TFCC injuries, 11 wrists had scapholunate injuries, and 8 had lunotriquetral (LT) injuries. Clinical examination for diagnosis of TFCC injury was too sensitive and nonspecific; however, clinical diagnosis of scapholunate injury was sensitive and specific. LT injury was under diagnosed clinically. Magnetic resonance imaging was found to have a low sensitivity for diagnosis of LT injury but diagnosis of TFCC was sensitive and specific.

Conclusions:

The sex ratio of 2 males:30 females was startling. Nevertheless, this therapeutic level 3 study supports a thorough search for pathology in any patient with persistent wrist symptoms because pathology was identified in 32 of the 33 wrists at arthroscopy.

Level of Evidence:

Level III—Therapeutic.

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