Triangular fibrocartilage complex

Last revised by Yoshi Yu on 1 Apr 2023

The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) is a complex structure that is a major contributor to the stability of the wrist

The TFCC is located on the ulnar aspect of the wrist joint between the ulna and the lunate and triquetrum of the proximal carpal row. It has an elongated triangular shape with the apex pointing at the radius 5.

The complex is formed by multiple ligamentous and fibrocartilaginous components, including 1,2:

  • central and radial portions of the TFCC are avascular

The shape of the TFCC varies with negative and positive ulnar variance 4:

The triangular fibrocartilage complex has the following functions 3:

  • main stabilizer of distal radioulnar joint (DRUJ)

  • buttress to support the proximal carpal row

  • allowing for transmission of a portion of the axial load from the carpus to the ulna (~20% of the force, with the remaining 80% through the radiocarpal joint)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: ulnomeniscal homologue
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  • Figure 2: axial anatomy diagram
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  • Figure 3: TFCC (Gray's illustration)
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