Arthroscopic Arthrolysis

Duncan Thomas McGuire, Riccardo Luchetti, Andrea Atzei, Gregory Ian Bain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Wrist stiffness is a debilitating condition that may complicate a traumatic injury to the wrist or follow immobilization of the wrist in a brace or plaster cast. This stiffness may be due to intra- and extra-articular causes. Arthrofibrosis is the predominant intra-articular pathology encountered and may involve the radiocarpal, radioulnar, and ulnocarpal joints. Treatment initially consists of a prolonged course of conservative treatment involving therapists. Following failure of conservative treatment, arthroscopic arthrolysis is an effective treatment for reestablishing range of motion and improving patient’s pain. At the same time, other intra-articular pathologies may be identified and treated. The postoperative rehabilitation protocol needs to be considered when treating other coexistent pathologies, as early postoperative mobilization is mandatory following arthrolysis. The surgical procedure involves resection of intra-articular adhesions, capsulotomy, and possible release of the radiocarpal ligaments. Due to the complex nature of this condition, certain parts of the procedure may need to be performed as an open procedure. Satisfactory results may be obtained following surgery with improvement in range of motion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWrist and Elbow Arthroscopy with Selected Open Procedures
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Surgical Guide to Techniques
EditorsWilliam B. Geissler
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783030788810
ISBN (Print)9783030788803
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Distal radius
  • Distal radius fracture
  • Fibrotic band
  • Manipulation under anesthesia
  • Sigmoid notch


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