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Dorsal radiocarpal ligament

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament is a large extrinsic intracapsular dorsal radiocarpal ligament and one of the main dorsal stabilizers of the wrist 1-3.

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament is also known as ‘dorsal radiolunotriquetral ligament’, or ‘dorsal radiotriquetral ligament’.

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament forms a part of the dorsal radiocarpal joint capsule and connects the dorsal radial rim with the lunate and triquetral bone. It is a broad and trapezoid like shaped ligament, courses in an oblique orientation and forms a toppled and horizontally oriented V-shape 1-4.

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament takes its origin originates from the dorsal radial edge of the distal radius from the level of the Lister's tubercle to the sigmoid notch 1-3.

It inserts onto the dorsal surface of the lunate and triquetral bone 1-5.

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament can be visualized on ultrasound with the transducer placed at the dorsal aspect of the pronated and slightly flexed wrist at the level of the Lister's tubercle in the transverse plane and then rotated towards the triquetral bone on the ulnar side. The long axis of the ligament is displayed as an echogenic, fibrillary structure attaching the distal radius to the lunate and triquetral bone deep to the fourth extensor compartment 2,3.

The dorsal radiocarpal ligament is easily visualized on MRI and can be appreciated on coronal or sagittal images or 3D images and usually has a hypointense, striated appearance 4,5.

Article information

rID: 81936
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Dorsal radiolunotriquetral ligament
  • Dorsal radiotriquetral ligament

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: dorsal wrist ligaments (Gray's illustrations)
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