Journal List > J Korean Soc Surg Hand > v.20(3) > 1106490

J Korean Soc Surg Hand. 2015 Sep;20(3):127-132. English.
Published online September 30, 2015.
Copyright © 2015. The Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand
Bilateral Trans-Scaphoid Perilunate Fracture Dislocation
Seung-Bum Chae, and Jun-Ho Nam
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea.

Correspondence to: Seung-Bum Chae. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Daegu Catholic University College of Medicine, 33 Duryugongwon-ro 17-gil, Nam-gu, Daegu 42474, Korea. TEL: +82-53-650-4272, FAX: +82-53-652-4272, Email:
Received March 27, 2015; Revised June 18, 2015; Accepted July 21, 2015.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bilateral trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture dislocations are uncommon and have been rarely reported in the literature. Furthermore, it is more difficult to manage in the case of Fenton's syndrome (scaphocapitate fracture syndrome, trans-scaphoid trans-capitate fracture dislocation). These injuries occur after a high-energy trauma caused by fall from height or vehicular accidents. These fracture dislocation patterns have very few reported cases in the literature and little information as to the diagnosis, management, and surgical approach for treatment. We present a case of scaphocapitate fracture syndrome on the right hand and trans-scaphoid trans-triquetral perilunate injury on the left hand at the same time.

Keywords: Scaphoid; Perilunate; Fracture-dislocation; Open reduction and internal fixation


The wrist represents a complex anatomic region in the human extremity and a highly functional and intricate structural joint. Most perilunate injuries result from a staged disruption of the ligamentous structures. Forces may be directed through the carpal bones themselves resulting in a fracture1.

Early anatomic reduction of any carpal malalignment is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, even with optimal treatment, outcomes after perilunate injuries are frequently poor. Generalized wrist stiffness, diminished grip strength, and post-traumatic arthritis commonly develop.

Scaphoid fractures are frequent in everyday practice. But associated fractures of the scaphoid and capitate with 90°-180° rotation of the head of the capitate are rare wrist injuries. This carpal bone injury has been defined by Fenton and Rosen since 1950. The Fenton syndrome should be recognized especially in great external force. The diagnosis of simultaneous scaphoid and capitate fractures at the time of the injury is necessary to lead to adequate treatment and a satisfactory clinical result2.

We present a case of scapho-capitate fracture syndrome on the right hand, trans-scaphoid trans-triquetral perilunate injury on the left hand at the same time.


A 20-year-old, right hand dominant male was involved in a high-speed motorcycle accident. He lost consciousness after the collision and showed severely confused mentality for several weeks. When he presented to the emergency department, there was severe deformity on his right hand with the protrusion of distal radius which was disarticulated from carpal bones and penetrated skin to volar side. The lateral view image revealed that lunate bone along with proximal fragment was in alignment with distal radius articular margin, while perilunate bones were dorsally displaced. A proximal pole of capitate showed 22° translation (Fig. 1A, B).

Fig. 1
(A, B) Displaced fracture of the scaphoid and the capitate with perilunate dislocation of the carpus. There is a mid-waist scaphoid fracture, linear hamate fracture and a proximal pole capitate fracture with 22° translation of the proximal capitate fragment. (C, D) Postoperative X-ray image of the right wrist.
Click for larger image

Because it was an open fracture dislocation, he underwent the emergent surgery. We approached through the open wound to get reduction of scaphoid fracture by joystick method and the scaphoid fragment was fixed using 3.0 headless compression screw (HCS, DePuySynthes, West Chester, PA, USA). Then we incised dorsally with extensor retinaculum dissection. The displaced capitate was reduced by guide pins, and fixed with 3.0 HCS. The dislocated lunate bone was reduced and carpal bones were fixed using Kirchner wires (Fig. 1C, D). The wrist was immobilized in a thumb-spica splint for 8 weeks. After 3 weeks from the surgery, the patient still showed confused mentality, and he complained of the left wrist pain. The roentgenograms images revealed dorsal perilunate dislocation associated with scaphoid and triquetral fractures (Fig. 2A, B). The surgery was performed via volar approach. The fractured scaphoid was grafted with ipsilateral distal radius bone and fixed by 3.0 HCS. Other carpal bones were fixed with Kirchner wires (Fig. 2C, D).The left wrist also immobilized in a thumb-spica splint for 8 weeks.

Fig. 2
(A, B) The roentgenograms images reveals dorsal perilunate dislocation associated with scaphoid and triquetral fractures of the left wrist. (C, D) Postoperative X-ray image of the left wrist.
Click for larger image

One year after the accident, the patient did not complain of wrists pain, but radiographs showed nonunion of the right scaphoid. The surgery was performed by volar approach again and we decided to remove HCS of the scaphoid. The fracture ends were freshened and grafted by corticocancellous bone of ipsilateral distal radius, which filled the screw hole, and fixed with another 3.0 HCS. We could find the early arthritic change of the mid-carpal joint, because it happened by high energy with severe open wound, which led to chondral injury (Fig. 3). Postoperatively, the wrist was again protected in a short arm cast for 6 weeks.

Fig. 3
(A, B) Postoperative X-ray images of the right wrist after bone graft with screw change. We could find the early arthritic change of the mid-carpal joint.
Click for larger image

After 23 months later from the accident, the patient had pain-free wrists with 0° of extension, 20° of flexion, 70° of pronation, 90° of supination and 70 pounds of hand grip power on right with union and no evidence of osteonecrosis of the proximal pole of the scaphoid and the head of the capitates. The left wrist showed 60° of extension, 30° of flexion, 40° of pronation, 80° of supination and 120 pounds of hand grip power with complete union (Fig. 4). He returned to his work.

Fig. 4
(A-D) 23 months later from the accident.
Click for larger image


There have been only 6 reports of bilateral scaphoid fractures without dislocation and 3 cases of bilateral scaphoid fractures associated with perilunate dislocation in the international literature3, 4, 5. Saxena et al.4 reported the excellent outcome by closed reduction and cast application. Kaneko et al.3 and Barros et al.5 performed open reduction and internal fixation, the result was also excellent. Only approximately 50 cases Fenton syndrome (scaphocapitate fracture syndrome) have been reported since 1956 and there are few cases of triquetral fractures association with trans-scaphoid perilunate fracture-dislocations6, 7. The key to diagnose these injuries of the wrist is the lateral X-ray. Normally the axis of radius, the lunate, the capitate and the third metacarpal should fall in a straight line with the wrist in neutral position and the half-moon shaped profile of lunate articulates with the cup of distal radius proximally and with the rounded proximal capitate distally. Bain and colleagues note that computed tomography scan may be useful to better characterize carpal bone injuries4, 8.

Kumar and Thomas6 reported a case of scaphocapiate fracture syndrome, the patient suffered from the non-union of scaphoid, and avascular necrosis of the scaphoid and the lunate led to arthrodesis of the wrist. In the report by Kumar and Thomas6, the authors recommended internal fixation with primary bone graft to achieve anatomical reduction and enhance bone healing, the both wrists of our patient also underwent bone graft because there was high energy injury with severe open wound on the right wrist and the ignored scaphoid fracture on the left wrist. We also recommend bone graft for scaphoid fracture with comminution, open fracture, or non-union of the neglected scaphoid fracture6.

Because it happened by high energy with severe open wound, which led to chondral injury, we could find the early arthritic change of the mid-carpal joint on the right wrist. Mechanism of injury, age, gender, occupation, limb dominance and anatomical reduction state after surgery might be factors for post traumatic arthritis9. The patient would complain of the wrist pain by arthritic change, and we need to observe him carefully.

According to Fenton, following a collision in a position of dorsiflexion and radial deviation of the wrist, force is transmitted from the radial styloid process to the scaphoid and then to the capitate causing fracture of both bones and the rotation of capitate occurs in the axis which is perpendicular to the palm. Stein and Seigel suggested that acute dorsiflexion causes the scaphoid fracture and in maximum dorsiflexion the dorsal lip of the radius strikes the neck of the capitate causing it to fracture. According to Stein at al. the axis of rotation is transverse to the palm10. In this study, the capitate of the patient translated to the ulnar side with the fracture of radial styloid process. As the Fenton reported, it means that the force is transmitted from the styloid process and the axis of the rotation is perpendicular to the palm. We thought that the patient turned the steering wheel to the left side with hitting the break in a position of dorsiflexion and radial deviation of the right wrist wearing steering cover, which led to bilateral scaphoid fracture (Fig. 5). Through this case, we can assume the Fenton's theory for scaphocapitate fracture syndrome and the theory of Mayfield for the trans-scaphoid perilunate trans-triquetral injury7, 9. As Mayfield reported, initial hyperextension caused fracture of the waist of the scaphoid and failure of the radial ligamentous structures. The resulting ulnar deviation and intercarpal supination caused the injury to progress through the soft tissue structures on the distal aspect of the lunate. Further ulnar deviation probably caused impingement of the triquetral on the ulnar styloid with subsequent fracture7.

Fig. 5
Transmission of the energy with radial deviation of the right wrist ➀ Turning steering wheel to radial side ➁ The energy transmission. S, scaphoid; C, capitate; L, lunate.
Click for larger image

We could assume the mechanism of the injury, and that primary bone graft for scaphoid in Fenton syndrome or trans-scaphoid trans-triquetral perilunate injury would be the treatment of choice. We could not find the left wrist injury until 3 weeks later. More considerable examination should be needed for the patients with confused mentality. We hope that it could be a help to treat these uncommon wrist injuries.

1. Melsom DS, Leslie IJ. Carpal dislocations. Curr Orthop 2007;21:288–297.
2. Hamdi MF. The scaphocapitate fracture syndrome: report of a case and a review of the literature. Musculoskelet Surg 2012;96:223–226.
3. Kaneko K, Miyazaki H, Yamaguchi T, Yanagihara Y, Kurosawa H. Bilateral transcapholunate dislocation. Chir Main 2000;19:263–268.
4. Saxena V, Pradhan P, Yadav A, Mehrotra V. Bilateral symmetrical trans-scaphoid perilunate dislocation: a rare injury. J Clin Orthop Trauma 2011;2:51–53.
5. Barros JW, Oliveira DJ, Fernandes CD. Bilateral transscapholunate dislocations. J Hand Surg Br 1997;22:169–172.
6. Kumar A, Thomas AP. Scapho-capitate fracture syndrome: a case report. Acta Orthop Belg 2001;67:185–189.
7. Harrington P, Quinlan WB. Palmar lunate transscaphoid, trans-triquetral fracture-dislocation. J Hand Surg Br 1999;24:493–496.
8. Apostolides JG, Lifchez SD, Christy MR. Complex and rare fracture patterns in perilunate dislocations. Hand (N Y) 2011;6:287–294.
9. Guitton TG, Zurakowski D, van Dijk NC, Ring D. Incidence and risk factors for the development of radiographic arthrosis after traumatic elbow injuries. J Hand Surg Am 2010;35:1976–1980.
10. Monahan PR, Galasko CS. The scapho-capitate fracture syndrome: a mechanism of injury. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1972;54:122–124.
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