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The Classic
The Classic - Review of Palmer and Werner (1981) on the triangular fibrocartilage complex of the wrist anatomy and function
  1. Teun Teunis1,
  2. David Ring2
  1. 1Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care, Dell Medical School, Austin, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor David Ring, Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care, Dell Medical School-University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas TX 78712, USA; david.ring{at}


This classic discusses the original publication by Palmer and Werner (1981) on the anatomy and function of a set of soft tissue stabilising the distal radioulnar joint. They labelled this confluent structure the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) of the wrist, and concluded that abnormalities were typically degenerative and usually asymptomatic. Eight years later Dr Palmer published a follow-up taking a different perspective. In this article he differentiated between traumatic and degenerative TFCC lesions and outlined surgical treatment for each type. The debate about the diagnosis, interpretation and treatment of TFCC abnormalities today is captured by the contrast between both articles.

  • TFCC
  • distal radio ulnar joint

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  • Contributors Both authors have contributed to the planning, conducting and reporting of this work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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