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Clin Orthop Surg. 2018 Mar;10(1):80-88. English. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.4055/cios.2018.10.1.80
Shin SH , Lee YS , Kang JW , Noh DY , Jung JY , Chung YG .
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. ygchung@catholic.ac.kr
Department of Radiology, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Abstract

Background

The location of the ulnar styloid process can be confusing because the radius and the hand rotate around the ulna. The purpose of this study was to identify the absolute location of the ulnar styloid process, which is independent of forearm pronation or supination, to use it as a reference for neutral forearm rotation on lateral radiographs of the wrist.

Methods

Computed tomography (CT) images of 23 forearms taken with elbow flexion of 70° to 90° were analyzed. The axial CT images were reconstructed to be perpendicular to the distal ulnar shaft. The absolute location of the ulnar styloid process in this study was defined as the position of the ulnar styloid process on the axial plane of the ulnar head relative to the long axis of the humeral shaft with the elbow set in the position for standard lateral radiographs of the wrist. To identify in which direction the ulnar styloid is located on the axial plane of the ulnar head, the angle between “the line of humeral long axis projected on the axial plane of the ulna” and “the line passing the center of the ulnar head and the center of the ulnar styloid” was measured (ulnar styloid direction angle). To identify how volarly or dorsally the ulnar styloid should appear on the true lateral view of the wrist, the ratio of “the volar-dorsal diameter of the ulnar head” and “the distance between the volar-most aspect of the ulnar head and the center of the ulnar styloid” was calculated (ulnar styloid location ratio).

Results

The mean ulnar styloid direction angle was 12° dorsally. The mean ulnar styloid location ratio was 1:0.55.

Conclusions

The ulnar styloid is located at nearly the ulnar-most (the opposite side of the humerus with the elbow flexed) and slightly dorsal aspects of the ulnar head on the axial plane. It should appear almost midway (55% dorsally) from the ulnar head on the standard lateral view of the wrist in neutral forearm rotation. These location references could help clinicians determine whether the forearm is in neutral or rotated position on an axial CT/magnetic resonance imaging scan or a lateral radiograph of the wrist.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.