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Characterization and Epidemiology of the Carpal Boss Utilizing Computed Tomography
26 February 2016
08 April 2016
09 May 2016 (online)
Background The carpal boss is an osseous protuberance occurring variably along the dorsum of the second or third metacarpal base, lacking a standardized definition.
Aim We sought to characterize the dorsal second and third carpometacarpal joints in the general population on computed tomography (CT) to better define this variant anatomy.
Patients and Methods A total of 129 wrist CT studies were reviewed. Note was made of the dorsal second/third carpometacarpal osseous anatomy, the presence of regional bursitis or tenosynovitis, and relationship of the extensor carpi radialis brevis attachment to the base of the third metacarpal.
Results Out of the 129 wrists, 106 (82.2%) demonstrated a dorsal protuberance arising from the base of the third metacarpal, in isolation. Out of the 129 wrists, 14 (10.9%) lacked a dorsal protuberance or nonunited ossicle at the level of the second or third carpometacarpal joint. Out of the 129 wrists, 9 (7%) wrists demonstrated more complex anatomy—8 wrists (6.2%) with a dorsal protuberance at the base of the third metacarpal seen in combination with an adjacent nonunited ossicle and/or dorsal protuberance arising from the capitate, and 1 wrist (0.8%) with an isolated ossicle at the base of the third metacarpal. Of these nine wrists, eight (6.2%) demonstrated arthritis at the resultant pseudoarticulation(s).
Conclusion The majority of wrists demonstrated an isolated protuberance arising from the dorsal base of the third metacarpal, with a small minority with a nonunited ossicle at this level and/or dorsal protuberance of the capitate. The presence of secondary arthritis (8 out of 129 wrists, 6.2%) may reflect a pain generator.
Level of Evidence Cross-sectional study; level 2.
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