Causes of abnormal lunate signal on MRI

There are several important causes of an abnormal lunate signal on MRI, the most frequent causes being Kienbock disease (25%), ulnar impaction syndrome (25%) and intraosseous ganglia (20%).1 Appreciation of the pattern of bone signal change can often allow the correct diagnosis to be made.

  • Kienbock disease
    • sclerosis (low T1 and T2) centrally and within the radial aspect of lunate
    • sclerosis can be diffuse
    • bone edema (high T2, intermediate T1) may be seen in the acute phase, particularly on the radial side
    • 75% of cases are associated with negative ulnar variance
  • ulnar impaction syndrome 
    • sclerosis (low T1 and T2) localized to the proximal ulnar aspect of lunate
    • bone edema (high T2, intermediate T1)
    • chondromalacia of distal ulnar and proximal lunate cartilage
    • commonly associated with positive ulnar variance
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Article information

rID: 10269
Section: Gamuts
Tag: wrist
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lunate signal change on MRI
  • Abnormal lunate signal on MRI (differential)

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Cases and figures

  • Ulnar impaction syndrome
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  • Ulnar impaction syndrome
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