The Quantitative Anatomy of the Dorsal Scapholunate Interosseous Ligament

M. Claire, Manske, Jerry I., Huang

Hand |

Background: The anatomy of the scapholunate interosseous ligament (SLIL) has been described qualitatively in great detail, with recognition of the dorsal component’s importance for carpal stability. The purpose of this study was to define the quantitative anatomy of the dorsal SLIL and to assess the use of high-frequency ultrasound to image the dorsal SLIL. Methods: We used high-frequency ultrasound imaging to evaluate 40 wrists in 20 volunteers and recorded the radial-ulnar (length) and dorsal-volar (thickness) dimensions of the dorsal SLIL and the dimensions of the scapholunate interval. We assessed the use of high-frequency ultrasound by comparing the length and thickness of the dorsal SLIL on ultrasound evaluation and open dissection of 12 cadaveric wrists. Student’s t test was used to assess the relationship between measurements obtained on cadaver ultrasound and open dissection. Results: In the volunteer wrists, the mean dorsal SLIL length was 7.5 ± 1.4 mm and thickness was 1.8 ± 0.4 mm; the mean scapholunate interval was 5.0 mm dorsally and 2.5 mm centrally. In the cadaver wrists, there was no difference in dorsal SLIL length or thickness between ultrasound and open dissection. Conclusions: The dorsal SLIL is approximately 7.5 mm long and 1.8 mm thick. These parameters may be useful in treatment of SLIL injuries to restore the native anatomy. High-frequency ultrasound is a useful imaging technique to assess the dorsal SLIL, although further study is needed to assess the use of high-frequency ultrasound in detection of SLIL pathology.