Ulnar collateral ligament of the wrist

Last revised by Dr Mohamed Saber on 10 Dec 2021

The ulnar collateral ligament of the wrist is an extrinsic dorsal ulnocarpal ligament and functions as a part of the triangular fibrocartilage complex as an ulnar stabilizer of the wrist 1-3.

The ulnar collateral ligament connects the ulnar styloid al process with the triquetrum in a longitudinal orientation deep to the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon and superficial to the ulnomeniscal homologue forming the most ulnar part of the joint capsule 1-2. It is a component of the triangular fibrocartilage complex. It blends with the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon sheath.

The proximal insertion or origin of the ulnar collateral ligament is the ulnar styloid tip 1.

Distal insertions are the proximal ulnar surface of the triquetral bone 1.

The ulnar collateral ligament can be visualized on ultrasound with the transducer placed over the ulnar styloid process at the ulnar aspect of the radial deviated pronated wrist in the longitudinal plane. The long axis of the ligament is displayed as a slightly echogenic, somewhat fibrillary structure attaching the ulnar styloid process radius to the triquetrum. It is found deep to the overlying extensor carpi ulnaris tendon 2-5.

The ulnar collateral ligament can be seen on MRI. It can be best appreciated on coronal high resolution or 3D images adjacent to the ulnomeniscal homologue and the extensor ulnaris tendon and has a hypointense appearance 5.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: TFCC disc injury and UCCL complete tear
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