Modeling the Articular Surface of the Hamate with the Fourth and Fifth Metacarpal Bases with Three-dimensional Laser Scanning Academic Article uri icon

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  • Introduction Our purpose is to highlight the articulating surfaces between the hamate and fourth and fifth metacarpal (MC) bases of the hand using three- dimensional (3D) laser scanning. This joint surface is used for osteochondral grafting of small joints such as the proximal interphalangeal joint using the hamate articular surface. It is an important joint for hand function and can develop osteoarthritis.  Methods NextEngine (NextEngine, Santa Monica, CA) 3D laser scanner (accurate to ±100 µm) was used to capture the articular surfaces of the hamate with the fourth and fifth MC bases of 10 embalmed cadaver right hands. Articular surfaces were defined and modeled using Amira (Visage Imaging, Andover, MA) and MatLab7 (MathWorks, Natick, MA). Articular surfaces were evaluated in terms of size, shape, the radius of curvature (ROC) by three points and sphere-fit (SF) and inter-facet angles. Results In the fourth carpometacarpal (CMC) joint, the hamate articular surface with the 4th MC was single, concave, and well approximated by SF ROC (mean: 11.18 mm). The fourth MC base was convex; SF ROC mean was 9.94 mm. Six of the 10 articulations flattened from volar to dorsal. In the fifth CMC joint, we noted a bicondylar construct. The two hamate surfaces were concave while MC bases were convex. The joint surface was best approximated with two overlapping spheres. Ulnar sphere averaged 30.21% of the surface of the hamate and 29% of the MC base. Ulnar hamate SF ROC mean was 11.63 mm, and ulnar fifth MC SF ROC mean was 8.07 mm. Radial SF hamate mean was 7.92 mm, and the radial fifth MC SF mean was 7.47 mm. The mean of the angle of divergence between the condylar spheres represented on the hamate surface was 21.4°, while that of the fifth MC base angle of divergence was 10.99°. The mean of the angle formed between the fourth and fifth CMC joints at the hamate was 31.69°. A single articular facet between the fourth and fifth MC bases was concave on fourth and convex on the fifth MC base. Conclusions and clinical relevance Laser scanning of cadaver fourth and fifth CMC joints clarified the normal anatomy of the osteochondral joint surface. The topography of the joints was well-approximated by SF with curved surfaces in both the anteroposterior and radial-ulnar planes with the fifth CMC having two unique surfaces for articulation. We noted the distinct radial and ulnar articulating surfaces of the fifth CMC joint, which would permit flexion and limited supination.


  • McRae, Matthew
  • Dreckmann, Stephanie
  • Sandhu, Sandeep S
  • Binhammer, Paul

publication date

  • December 22, 2019

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