Lunate fractures and associated radiocarpal and midcarpal instabilities: a systematic review

Meenalochani Shunmugam, Joideep Phadnis, Amy Watts, Gregory Bain

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to analyse lunate fractures and any associated osseo-ligamentous injuries. A systematic review identified 34 cases. We identified carpal instabilities at the radiocarpal and midcarpal joints in volar and dorsal directions. Radiocarpal instabilities (10/34) were usually dorsoradial (8/10), with a transverse lunate fracture, best seen on a coronal image. Midcarpal instabilities (24/34) were usually volar (14/18), with a volar lunate shear fracture, best seen on a sagittal image. Instabilities were sub-classified into non-displaced, subluxated and dislocated. Associated fractures of the scaphoid and the radial and ulnar styloid processes were common. Lunate fractures without subluxation or dislocation had good outcomes with cast immobilization or fixation of associated fractures. Lunate fracture-subluxations are unstable injuries that are best managed with fixation of the carpal fractures. Lunate fracture-dislocations are complex injuries, requiring stabilization of the lunate, associated fractures and ligament injuries; complications are common and acute or delayed salvage procedures may be required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery: European Volume
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Carpal instability
  • Lunate fractures
  • Midcarpal instability
  • Midcarpal joint


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