Scapholunate ligament complex

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 2 Aug 2021

The scapholunate ligament complex is a U-shaped ligamentous complex joining the lunate and the scaphoid.

Gross anatomy

It is divided into dorsal, volar and intermediate components with surrounding secondary stabilizers.

Dorsal component
  • short, transverse collagen fibers
  • 3 mm thick
  • blends with joint capsule, scaphotriquetral and intercarpal ligaments
  • strongest portion of the complex
  • controls flexion/extension
  • complete defect is usually symptomatic
Volar component
  • oblique collagen fibers
  • 1 mm thick
  • blends with extrinsic volar radioscapholunate ligament
  • controls rotational motion
  • major proprioceptive role
Intermediate/interosseous component
  • located proximally and centrally and therefore may be referred to as the central or proximal component
  • fibrocartilage
  • sparse neurovascular supply
  • weakest portion of the complex
  • extends a few millimeters into the joint, akin to a meniscus
  • often asymptomatic when torn in isolation
  • usually tears at the scaphoid attachment
Secondary stabilizers
  • scapho-trapezial-trapezoidal ligament
  • radio-scapho-capitiate ligament

Related pathology

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