Ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb: MR findings in cadavers, volunteers, and patients with ligamentous injury (gamekeeper's thumb)

AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology
D H HinkeM E Timins


The ulnar collateral ligament bridges the ulnar aspect of the first metacarpal and the proximal phalanx and functions as a major stabilizer of the first metacarpophalangeal joint. Acute or chronic injury of this ligament is referred to as gamekeeper's thumb. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the MR appearance of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb in cadavers and volunteers and (2) analyze the MR findings in patients with gamekeeper's thumb, especially with regard to the value of MR in detecting clinically significant displacement of the ligament (Stener lesion). MR imaging of the first metacarpophalangeal joint was performed in three volunteers, two cadaveric specimens, and 11 patients with acute injury. In the patients, the mechanism of injury was an abrupt abductive force on the thumb resulting in rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament. The diagnosis was confirmed by surgery in five patients and by clinical follow-up in the remaining six. Cryomicrotome sectioning of the cadaveric tissue blocks was performed to correlate pathologic and MR findings. Images were interpreted by one radiologist. MR images showed rupture of the ulnar collateral ligament in all 11 patients. Prospectively, Stener lesions (n...Continue Reading


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