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Wrist Arthroscopy: Conditions Treated

Wrist arthroscopy is used mostly for diagnosis. In some cases, it is used in treatment. It works best for showing ligament tears, or damage to the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) or cartilage. Since the wrist is a very small joint, the surgeon uses a special arthroscope.

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Ligament damage is revealed.

Ligament Tears

The ligaments between the bones of the wrist can tear. This most often occurs between the lunate and scaphoid bones or the lunate and triquetrum bones. Such tears can cause pain, swelling, and a weak grip. With a full tear, the bones may pull apart and limit motion. To perform repairs, your surgeon may shift to open surgery.

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The TFCC is repaired.

TFCC Damage

Injury or constant use over time can cause a tear in the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex). During surgery, the tear may be shaved off or repaired. Bone or cartilage fragments may be removed. After healing, you should be able to move your wrist with greater ease and less pain.

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Damaged cartilage is shaved off.

Cartilage Damage

If you have wearing down of the cartilage (arthritis), your surgeon will shave off or smooth the worn area. Bone or cartilage fragments that have chipped off in the joint (loose bodies) will be removed. The removal of loose bodies can help restore smooth, pain-free wrist movement.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 3/14/2012
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.