Scapholunate advanced collapse (SLAC) refers to a pattern of wrist malalignment that has been attributed to post-traumatic or spontaneous osteoarthritis of the wrist. It is a complication that can occur with undiagnosed or untreated scapholunate dissociation. It is essentially the same sequela of wrist injury causing scaphoid nonunion as seen in scaphoid nonunion advanced collapse (SNAC).
It is most commonly a consequence of undiagnosed or untreated scapholunate ligament injury and rotatory subluxation of the scaphoid bone which resulting in radioscaphoid malalignment, progressive chondromalacia, and osteoarthritis.
Its features, however, also have been observed in patients with idiopathic calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystal deposition disease.
The pattern is that of a progressive osteoarthritis affecting initially the articulation between the radial styloid and the scaphoid. In later stages of the disease, osteoarthritis affects the whole radioscaphoid articulation, then the articulation between lunate and capitate. Finally it may involve other intercarpal joints. In addition there is widening of the space between scaphoid and lunate as well as proximal migration of the scaphoid and the capitate 3.
Watson staging is often used by hand surgeons 8:
- I: osteoarthritis of the articulation between the radial styloid and the scaphoid
- II: osteoarthritis involving the whole radioscaphoid articulation
- III: osteoarthritis of the radioscaphoid and capitolunate articulations
- IV: osteoarthritis of the radiocarpal and intercarpal articulations +/- distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ)
Note that the radiolunate joint is almost preserved until very last stages of the disease. It is also worth noting that the scaphoid fossa in the radius may be deep/preserved in cases of CPPD in contrast to post-traumatic SLAC wrist.
Sagittal reformatted images from multidetector CT arthrographic data are particularly useful in demonstrating abnormal angulations of the scaphoid and lunate bones (increased scapholunate angle and dorsal or volar intercalated segment instability deformity), radioscaphoid incongruity, cartilage loss, and subchondral bone degenerative changes.
Treatment and prognosis
Surgical treatment for SLAC wrist includes four-corner arthrodesis, capitolunate arthrodesis, complete wrist arthrodesis, scaphoidectomy, proximal row carpectomy (PRC), denervation, and radial styloidectomy 2, 5-6.
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- 2. Strauch RJ. Scapholunate advanced collapse and scaphoid nonunion advanced collapse arthritis--update on evaluation and treatment. J Hand Surg Am. 2011;36 (4): 729-35. doi:10.1016/j.jhsa.2011.01.018 - Pubmed citation
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- 5. Tomaino MM, Miller RJ, Cole I et-al. Scapholunate advanced collapse wrist: proximal row carpectomy or limited wrist arthrodesis with scaphoid excision? J Hand Surg Am. 1994;19 (1): 134-42. doi:10.1016/0363-5023(94)90237-2 - Pubmed citation
- 6. Wyrick JD, Stern PJ, Kiefhaber TR. Motion-preserving procedures in the treatment of scapholunate advanced collapse wrist: proximal row carpectomy versus four-corner arthrodesis. J Hand Surg Am. 1995;20 (6): 965-70. doi:10.1016/S0363-5023(05)80144-3 - Pubmed citation
- 7. Merrell GA, McDermott EM, Weiss AP. Four-corner arthrodesis using a circular plate and distal radius bone grafting: a consecutive case series. J Hand Surg Am. 2008;33 (5): 635-42. doi:10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.02.001 - Pubmed citation
- 8. Weiss KE, Rodner CM. Osteoarthritis of the wrist. J Hand Surgery. 2007;32A: 725-746 http://nemsi.uchc.edu/clinical_services/orthopaedic/handwrist/pdfs/article_osteoarthritis.pdf