Anatomic foveal reconstruction of the triangular fibrocartilage complex with a tendon graft

Gregory Bain, Duncan McGuire, Yu Lee, Kevin Eng, Matthias Zumstein

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17 Citations (Scopus)


An acute injury to the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) with avulsion of the foveal attachment can produce distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ) instability. The avulsed TFCC is translated distally so the footprint will be bathed in synovial fluid from the DRUJ and will become covered in synovitis. If the TFCC fails to heal to the footprint, then persistent instability can occur. The authors describe a surgical technique indicated for the treatment of persistent instability of the DRUJ due to foveal detachment of the TFCC. The procedure utilizes a loop of palmaris longus tendon graft passed through the ulnar aspect of the TFCC and into an osseous tunnel in the distal ulna to reconstruct the foveal attachment. This technique provides stability of the distal ulna to the radius and carpus. We recommend this procedure for chronic instability of the DRUJ due to TFCC avulsion, but recommend that suture repair remain the treatment of choice for acute instability. An arthroscopic assessment includes the trampoline test, hook test, and reverse hook test. DRUJ ballottement under arthroscopic vision details the direction of instability, the functional tear pattern, and unmasks concealed tears. If the reverse hook test demonstrates a functional instability between the TFCC and the radius, then a foveal reconstruction is contraindicated, and a reconstruction that stabilizes the radial and ulnar aspects of the TFCC is required. The foveal reconstruction technique has the advantage of providing a robust anatomically based reconstruction of the TFCC to the fovea, which stabilizes the DRUJ and the ulnocarpal sag.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalTechniques in Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • DRUJ instability
  • foveal tear
  • TFCC repair
  • triangular fibrocartilage complex
  • wrist arthroscopy


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