Original paper

Population variation in the incidence of the medial (hamate) facet of the carpal bone lunate



Studies on the wrist joint have shown two types of the carpal bone lunate. In type II lunate there is a facet on the medial side of the lunate for articulation with the proximal pole of the hamate;such a facet is absent in type I lunate. Type II lunates have different kinematics, are more prone to clinically relevant degenerative changes in the hamato-lunate joint and are an uncommon cause of ulnar-sided wrist pain. Ninety plain radiographs showing posteroanterior views of the wrist(52 right and 38 left wrists)were studied in a population of Malays from Malaysia(mean age 48 years; age range 23 to 67 years)to determine the incidence of type I and type II lunates. Our findings were compared with those in other reports in the literature.In Malays, only 24 wrists(26.7%)showed a type II lunate compared to a reported incidence of 50% or more in populations from the Western world. Such a low incidence of type II lunate has not been reported before and may represent a genetic variation in Malays. Consequently, osteoarthritis of the hamate or lunate may play a less significant role in causing ulnar-sided wrist pain in Malays. In conclusion, the prevalence of type II lunate might vary in different population groups and further studies could be necessary to confirm this observation


Variationcarpal boneslunatehamato-lunate jointradiology