Ulnar positive variance associated with TFCC foveal tear

Hyun Jae Ryoo, Yong Bin Kim, Donghee Kwak, In Cheul Choi, Jong Woong Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The ulnar positive variance (UPV) can be observed on simple radiography due to a triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) foveal tear. This study investigated to identify how much radiographic UPV occurs due to a TFCC foveal tear, which may be misdiagnosed as an ulnar impaction syndrome (UIS). Materials and methods: One hundred forty patients who underwent arthroscopic transosseus TFCC foveal repair from March 2013 to March 2019 in our institution were enrolled in this study. Ulnar variances were measured in preoperative, postoperative 6 weeks, 1-year follow-up wrist posteroanterior (PA) radiograph, and power grip PA radiograph of the affected wrist and were compared with those of the same patient’s unaffected wrist. Results: In the neutral wrist PA radiograph, ulnar variance increased by 0.56 mm (p < 0.001) after TFCC foveal tear compared to the unaffected side. In the power grip view, ulnar variance also increased by 0.39 mm (p < 0.001) in the affected wrist. The preoperative ulnar positive variance was reduced after an arthroscopic transosseous TFCC foveal repair from 0.56 to 0 mm (p < 0.001). No significant statistical difference was observed between an Atzei class 2 and 3 TFCC tear (0.56 mm vs. 0.41 mm, p = 0.263). Conclusion: This study revealed that TFCC foveal tear induces 0.56 mm of radiologic UPV, which was successfully corrected after arthroscopic transosseous TFCC foveal repair. Therefore, UPV associated with TFCC foveal tear should not be misdiagnosed as an UIS. Also, when ulnar shortening osteotomy is planned in case of UIS combined with TFCC foveal tear, the amount of UPV induced by TFCC foveal tear should be considered to prevent over-shortening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1491
Number of pages7
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to International Skeletal Society (ISS).


  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex foveal tear
  • Ulnar variance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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