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Flashcards in Hand Tendons and Tendon Transfer Deck (91):
1

A 60-year-old woman presents with weakness and inability to fully extend the right dominant thumb at the interphalangeal joint. History includes a Colles fracture of the right wrist 6 months ago. Management of the fracture included cast immobilization. On physical examination, the patient's thumb is at 30 degrees of flexion. Finger metacarpophalangeal joint active extension is normal. The patient cannot extend or lift the thumb with her hand flattened on a table. With the thumb adducted, she can extend it to neutral. All thumb joints are supple and have full range of passive motion. Which of the following is the most likely cause of this patient's inability to extend the thumb?

A) Intersection syndrome
B) Radial nerve palsy
C) Rupture of the extensor pollicis longus
D) Saddle deformity of the basal joint
E) Trigger thumb with locking

The correct response is Option C.

Extensor pollicis longus (EPL) rupture is most commonly caused by late effects of distal radius fractures. Devascularization is the most likely cause leading to attritional rupture. Rupture can present 2 weeks to 11 months after fracture; the average is 7 weeks. This patient can extend her thumb when it is adducted because of connections of the intrinsics with the dorsal apparatus. Tendon transfer of the extensor indicis proprius to distal EPL stump is the first-line treatment.

Other causes of EPL rupture include synovitis from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus causing friction at Lister’s tubercle, steroid injections, excessive abnormal wrist motion, bony spurs following distal radius and scaphoid fractures, scaphoid nonunion, misplaced external fixator pin, and subluxation of the distal ulna.

A trigger thumb would more likely have pain and tenderness on physical examination along the volar flexor sheath. A locked thumb would not have passive extensibility or active extension with adduction.

Saddle deformity is seen on physical examination in advanced osteoarthritis of the basal joint. Interphalangeal joint flexion of the thumb is caused by zigzag longitudinal collapse with hyperextension of the metacarpophalangeal joint.

Intersection syndrome is characterized by pain and tenderness along the radial side of the forearm where the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis muscles intersect.

Radial nerve palsy would not only affect the thumb interphalangeal joint.

 

2

A 19-year-old college baseball player comes for evaluation 4 weeks after he jammed and dislocated the long finger of his dominant right hand while sliding into home plate. His coach reduced the dislocation on the field. The patient says he has noticed increasing pain at the site of the injury in the past two days. Physical examination shows edema of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the long finger. Lateral stress shows angulation of 30 degrees. X-ray study shows a congruous joint with radial side widening of 1 mm. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) Buddy taping of the long finger to the index finger
B) Immobilization in a dorsal extension block splint at 30 degrees
C) Immobilization with a volar short arm splint
D) Kirschner wire fixation of the PIP joint for 3 weeks
E) Open repair of the radial collateral ligament

The correct response is Option E.

The goal of treatment is to restore normal finger function; prevent pain, stiffness, and traumatic arthritis; and to restore activities of daily living. This patient has a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the long finger. Widening of the joint space indicates probable interposition of ligament fibers. Angulation greater than 20 degrees is associated with poor prognosis. Complete tears with subluxation and interposition require surgical repair.Most collateral ligament ruptures occur at the proximal attachment to the middle phalanx.

Partial tears can be treated with nonsurgical and conservative methods. Splinting, buddy taping, extension block placement, and temporary fixation with a Kirschner wire would be incorrect.

 

3

A 24-year-old woman comes for evaluation 6 days after sustaining a jamming injury to the long finger of the left hand with resultant central slip disruption and acute boutonnière injury. X-ray studies are negative for fracture or dislocation. Treatment with splint immobilization is planned. Which of the following is the most appropriate position of the finger for application of the splint?

A) Distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint extended, proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint extended
B) DIP extended, PIP free
C) DIP flexed, PIP flexed
D) DIP flexed, PIP free
E) DIP free, PIP extended

The correct response is Option E.

The most appropriate position for splint immobilization of an injury leading to a boutonnière deformity is with the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint free and the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint extended.

The patient sustained a central slip disruption of the long finger of the left hand, resulting in an acute boutonnière deformity. Patients with boutonnière deformity have flexion at the PIP joint and hyperextension at the DIP joint. There is tearing of the extensor tendon from its insertion at the base of the middle phalanx, resulting in decreased ability to extend the finger at the PIP joint. As a result, the lateral bands fall volar to the axis of rotation at the PIP joint, changing their force from extension to flexion at the PIP joint. The extensor force of the lateral bands is then directed toward the terminal tendon at the DIP joint, resulting in hyperextension of the DIP joint.

Splint immobilization of the PIP joint in extension and the DIP joint free to flex permits healing of the central slip back to the middle phalanx. Flexion of the DIP joint through movement will tend to cause the lateral bands to migrate dorsally again, reversing the effect of the boutonnière deformity. When the lateral bands move dorsal to the axis of rotation at the PIP joint, their extensor force is restored and the DIP hyperextension resolves.

Splint immobilization of both joints in extension will not encourage the dorsal migration of the lateral bands. Splint immobilization with the DIP joint in extension and the PIP joint free is recommended in zone 1 extensor tendon injuries (i.e., mallet finger).

 

4

A 47-year-old man undergoes repair of a laceration to the extensor tendon of the long finger at the dorsum of the left hand. He wishes to restore function of the hand as quickly as possible. Which of the following is the most appropriate course of splint immobilization?

A) Continuous extension splint immobilization for 4 weeks
B) Continuous extension splint immobilization for 6 weeks
C) Dynamic extension splint immobilization for 6 weeks
D) ative motion extension splint immobilization for 6 weeks
E) No immobilization

The correct response is Option D.

The most appropriate treatment is relative motion extension splint immobilization for 6 weeks.

The relative motion extension splint allows immediate controlled active motion. Placing the injured tendon in 15 to 20 degrees less motion than the adjacent tendons results in significantly less force. A splint is fashioned placing the repaired extensor tendon of the long finger in 15 to 20 degrees more metacarpophalangeal extension than the neighboring extensor tendons. Full interphalangeal joint range of motion is permitted. The finger splint is worn with a wrist component for the first 3 weeks (which may not be necessary). The finger component is used for only 3 additional weeks. This allows for earlier recovery of motion and return to work.

Without immobilization, the repair is at increased risk for rupture and failure. Extensor tendon injuries have typically been treated with continuous extension splint immobilization for 4 to 6 weeks. Although this would be a reasonable option, use of the relative motion extension splint allows immediate movement and decreases the stiffness that may result from immobilization. This may be preferred in children or noncompliant patients.

Dynamic extension splinting is a possibility and may be useful in patients who have an extensor pollicis longus injury or in patients in whom all six finger extensors are severed. Relative motion splinting is not an option in these cases.

 

5

A 42-year-old woman comes to the emergency department after sustaining a deep laceration to the dorsal aspect of the right forearm with broken glass. She reports pain on attempted extension of the middle and ring fingers of the right hand. On physical examination, the patient cannot extend her fingers beyond the neutral position with her right hand held flat on a table. She is able to extend all digits completely at the interphalangeal joints in all positions of the hand. Which of the following is the most likely cause of these findings?

A) Extrinsic extensor tendons are cut completely with intact intrinsic muscles
B) Extrinsic extensor tendons can extend the digits despite the laceration injury
C) Juncturae tendinum are extending the digits
D) The patient has an accessory extensor tendon
E) The patient has partial extensor tendon lacerations only

The correct response is Option A.

Extension of the interphalangeal joints (IP) and extension of the metacarpophalangeal joints (MCP) to the neutral position after an injury to the forearm extensor tendons is possible through the action of the lumbricals and dorsal interossei (intrinsic hand muscles). The extrinsic extensor tendons alone are responsible for extending the metacarpophalnageal joints beyond neutral.

The role of the juncturae tendinum is to limit the independent extension of the ulnar three digits. The juncturae tendinum will allow for some finger extension with an isolated single tendon injury at the wrist or dorsal hand but would not maintain extension in all fingers.

No meaningful accessory extensor tendon exists.

A patient with partial extrinsic tendon lacerations may present with pain on attempted extension but extension beyond neutral would be intact.

6

A 35-year-old woman is evaluated 2 months after repair of volar lacerations to the dominant ring and long fingers at Zone III in both digits. Physical examination shows both fingers have no active flexion. There is normal passive motion and normal sensation at the fingertips of the affected digits. Surgical exploration shows transsection of the tendons at both levels and 2-cm segmental tendon loss, but no tendon sheath scarring. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) One-stage tendon grafting
B) Primary tendon repair
C) Primary tendon repair with z-lengthening
D) Superficialis to profundus tendon transfer
E) Two-stage tendon grafting

The correct response is Option A.

Several conditions must be met for single-stage tendon grafting to be successful. These include a hand and finger that have good passive motion, a well-healed wound with minimal scarring, and a digit that has intact nerves and arteries. This is a Boyes grade 1 injury.

If the grade of injury is greater than 1, two-stage grafting should be considered with implantation of a silicone rod and additional treatment to manage the other conditions to increase motion and function, such as joint release or reconstruction for loss of motion, nerve repair/reconstruction, and pulley reconstruction.

A primary repair is not going to be possible in this instance. Two-stage tendon grafting should be considered but a single stage graft can have excellent results with only one procedure. A tendon transfer is not appropriate for this situation.

 

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7

A 35-year-old man has clawing of all four fingers of the right hand 2 years after repair of a forearm laceration that injured the median and ulnar nerves. Photographs are shown. Both nerves were repaired shortly after the injury. All fingers have full passive range of motion. An extensor carpi radialis longus transfer is planned to correct the clawing of all four fingers. Which of the following donor sites is most likely to provide sufficient tendon graft for this procedure?

A) Abductor digiti quinti
B) Extensor digitorum longus
C) Flexor digitorum superficialis of the long finger
D) Palmaris brevis
E) Pronator teres

The correct response is Option B.

The Brand transfer uses the extensor carpi radialis longus or brevis as a donor motor to correct clawing of the fingers. It can be used to correct ulnar (ring and small finger) clawing or clawing of all four fingers. In either case, a tendon graft is needed to bridge the gap between the native distal limit of the extensor carpi radialis longus or brevis (on the index or long finger metacarpal base, respectively) to the transfer insertion on the lateral band at the proximal phalanx level. The transfer can be passed through the interosseous membrane in the forearm and then through the carpal tunnel or the intermetacarpal spaces in the hand. The transfer must pass volar to the deep transverse metacarpal ligament to have the correct vector of pull.

The extensor digitorum longus provides four tendon slips distally, each with its own paratenon, but has one tendon coming off the muscle proximally. A photograph is shown. There is minimal donor site morbidity in the foot due to the retained function of the extensor digitorum brevis.

Palmaris brevus has no tendon and cannot be used as a graft donor.

Abductor digiti quinti can be used as a donor muscle for thumb opposition transfer, most commonly in children. It has a very short tendon and cannot be used for anti-claw transfers. In addition, due to this patient’s injury, the abductor digiti quinti is likely denervated and would not be functional for a transfer.

Flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) of the long finger can be used for anti-claw transfers. The tendon can be split along the plane of Camper’s chiasm to create two distal slips for insertion. It is well suited as an anti-claw transfer in patients with isolated ulnar nerve palsy. The FDS tendon cannot be split into four slips for insertion, as would be needed in this patient, and the power of one FDS muscle is insufficient to correct clawing in four fingers. In addition, the FDS resides superficial to the median nerve. In a patient who sustained a forearm laceration with injury to the median nerve, the overlying FDS is also likely to have been injured.

Pronator teres is the most common donor motor to restore wrist extension in patients with radial nerve palsy. It has a very short tendon and is not used for anti-claw transfers.

 

A image thumb
8

A 38-year-old woman comes for evaluation 7 weeks after undergoing a Zone II flexor tendon repair of the left long finger. She reports feeling a "pop" at home and is now unable to flex the finger at the proximal or distal interphalangeal joints. On examination today, the finger is swollen with moderate stiffness. Flexor tendon rupture is suspected. During operative exploration, ruptures of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and flexor digitorum profundus tendons are noted. There is a 1.5-cm gap of the profundus tendon and scarring at the A2 pulley. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A) Excision of the flexor tendons with implantation of a passive silicone rod prosthesis
B) Fractional lengthening of the tendon in the forearm and revision of primary repair
C) Single-stage reconstruction with implantation of an active silicone rod prosthesis
D) Single-stage tendon reconstruction with palmaris graft
E) Tendon transfer from the ring finger FDS

The correct response is Option A.

Flexor tendon reconstruction in Zone II was originally described by Bassett and Carroll in 1963 and refined by Hunter in 1971. In the first stage, a Dacron-reinforced silicone rod is implanted after excision of the native tendons. It is secured distally to the flexor digitorum profundus stump or directly to the distal phalanx. Proximally, the rod is placed adjacent to the motor tendon but not secured. At this time, pulley reconstruction with tendon or retinacular grafts can be performed as indicated. This allows formation of a pseudosheath around the rod. Once the soft tissue has healed and the patient has regained maximum passive range of motion through therapy, the second-stage tendon grafting is performed. The most commonly reported time frame is 3 months but depends on soft-tissue stability.

The most important management decision is to determine if primary repair is possible. If not, one must then decide between single-stage and two-stage tendon reconstruction. The criteria for single-stage reconstruction include a finger with adequate passive motion of all joints, soft tissues with minimal scarring, functional tendon sheath and pulley system, a neurovascularly intact digit, and a compliant patient. If these criteria are not met, the patient should be treated with a staged reconstruction.

In this patient, primary repair is not likely with a gap >1 cm 7 weeks after the initial repair. Myostatic contraction of the proximal stump would be expected. In addition, this patient’s digit has significant internal scarring and poor passive motion— all factors that preclude a single-stage repair. Fractional lengthening might be considered to allow primary repair if the tendon sheath was better quality.

If a single-stage repair were indicated, one may consider a flexor digitorum superficialis transfer from an adjacent digit as a motor for the transfer. This requires only one tendon anastomosis, and studies have shown decreased adhesion formation with intrasynovial tendon grafts. However, tensioning of the transfer can be more difficult than traditional tendon grafting.

Patients who are unable to tolerate a second-stage procedure can be considered for the implantation of an active silicone rod prosthesis. This device is designed to have both a distal anastomosis to the bone and a proximal anastomosis to the motor muscle-tendon unit with integrated sutures or a loop. This would require meeting the criteria for single-stage reconstruction. Active implants were originally designed for use in two-stage reconstruction, but no studies exist that compare active with passive silicone rods or show any benefit versus a passive implant in a staged reconstruction.

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9

A 28-year-old woman is brought to the emergency department after sustaining an injury to the arm during a motor vehicle collision. A photograph is shown. Physical examination shows inability to extend the index or long fingers, and a rent in the dorsal wrist capsule. Which of the following extensor zones is most likely involved?

A) II
B) III
C) IV
D) V
E) VI

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option E.

The patient described sustained a dorsal wrist injury involving extensors of the wrist and fingers, with the injury at the base of the hand and over the carpus. Typically this is considered zones VI and VII. The other zones represent the following areas with some common conditions listed for each zone. Knowing and reporting zones of injury are helpful not just for descriptive purposes, but also for communicating with other doctors and therapists. Common therapy protocols are based on which zone or zones are involved in the injury.

A image thumb
10

A 24-year-old male figure skater comes to the emergency department because of dorsal metacarpophalangeal dislocation of the right thumb. The emergency department staff is unable to reduce the dislocation. Which of the following structures is most likely preventing reduction in this patient’s injury?

A) Extensor pollicis longus tendon
B) Flexor pollicis brevis tendon
C) Opponens pollicis
D) Sesamoid bone
E) Ulnar neurovascular bundle

The correct response is Option D.

The thumb metacarpophalangeal (MCP) sesamoid bone(s) may be associated with an irreducible dorsal dislocation.

Dorsal dislocation of the thumb at the MCP joint typically occurs with forced hyperextension with resultant volar plate and collateral ligament rupture. Irreducibility usually occurs through interposition of the volar plate in the joint. Extensor expansion interposition, collateral ligaments, bony fragments, sesamoids, and flexor pollicis longus entrapment have also been associated with irreducibility. In these circumstances, open reduction is often necessary.

The ulnar neurovascular bundle, extensor pollicis longus, opponens pollicis, and flexor pollicis brevis are not typically associated with an irreducible dislocation.

 

11

A 34-year-old machinist undergoes repair of the flexor tendon of the index finger as the result of a work-related injury. Which of the following is the main rationale for performing early motion exercises after surgical repair?

A) Decrease adhesions
B) Decrease postoperative pain
C) Improve strength of repair
D) Increase synovial fluid flow
E) Prevent rupture

The correct response is Option A.

The main rationale for performing early motion exercises is to decrease adhesion formation. During the early phases of tendon healing, large amounts of collagen are deposited and form early scarring. Although this scarring is crucial for the healing of the repaired tendon, scarring will also occur in the tendon sheath and, if allowed to progress, can lead to stiffness in the involved digit. Early passive- and active-motion protocols assist in breaking apart early scarring of the tendon to the surrounding sheath.

Early motion has not shown to increase the final strength of the repair and is more likely to cause rupture. Although synovial fluid flow might be increased with tendon excursion, it does not improve outcomes. Postoperative pain is likely increased with therapy.

 

12

A 21-year-old man comes to the office after injuring the right long finger while playing football. On physical examination, the patient is unable to flex the distal phalanx. Hollowness is noted along the volar aspect of the finger, with pain in the palm upon palpation. X-ray studies show no abnormalities. Which of the following is the latest at which primary repair is expected?

A) 1 day
B) 1 week
C) 1 month
D) 2 months
E) 3 months

The correct response is Option B.

Rupture of the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon from its distal attachment is commonly known as jersey finger. The injury is often overlooked by players and trainers and misdiagnosed as a sprained finger, but it requires more urgent management than these minor injuries. Jersey finger occurs when a flexed distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint is suddenly and forcefully hyperextended, leading to rupture of the FDP tendon at its insertion on the distal phalanx.

FDP injuries can be classified based upon the degree of tendon retraction, as described in Leddy and Packer's grading scheme:

Type I injuries involve retraction of the profundus tendon all the way to the palm, with associated injuries to the vincula longus and vinculum brevis. Injuries to the vincula disrupt the blood supply to the tendon, necessitating surgical repair within 7 days to avoid necrosis of the tendon and a permanent contracture deformity.

Type II injuries involve retraction of the tendon to the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. The tendon stump is held in place by the vincula longus, which are often intact. An avulsion fracture sometimes occurs with type II injuries, and often becomes trapped in the A2 pulley. Without an observable bony fragment on x-ray study, it is impossible to determine the degree of retraction; thus, all type II injuries should be surgically repaired within 7 days.

Type III injuries involve a large avulsion fragment that is often intraarticular. The bony fragment prevents retraction past the A4 pulley and holds the tendon in near-anatomic position, obviating the need for urgent repair. Type III injuries are amenable to repair within 2 to 3 months.

Type IV injuries are type III lesions with the addition of an avulsion of the FDP tendon from the fracture fragment. Type IV injuries are rare but require urgent repair because of the disruption to the tendon's blood supply.

13

A 45-year-old man has a mass in the left volar forearm. An MRI is shown. Oncologic resection will involve removing all muscles of the anterior forearm compartment. Which of the following techniques is most appropriate to reconstruct finger flexion postoperatively?

A) Flexor digitorum profundus to superficialis transfer
B) Flexor pronator slide
C) Free gracilis innervated by a median nerve branch
D) Oberlin-Mackinnon nerve transfer
E) Pedicled latissimus dorsi muscle flap transfer

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option C.

A free gracilis muscle would provide a good strength and excursion match to the native finger flexors it would replace. Vascular and nerve connections could be performed in the distal upper arm, outside of the zone of resection. While individual finger flexion would not be restored, the patient would be able to make a composite fist after this surgery.

The flexor digitorum profundus to superficialis transfer is used to treat flexor spastic contracture, typically with palmar hygiene issues, in a patient who still has some voluntary motor control. It requires the presence of flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis muscles, both of which would be removed as part of the anterior forearm compartment muscles.

The Oberlin-Mackinnon nerve transfer transfers branches of the median nerve and ulnar nerve to the brachialis and biceps muscles, respectively. It is used to restore elbow flexion and would not provide finger flexion.

A flexor pronator slide detaches the muscles originating from the medial epicondyle of the humerus and advances them distally. It is used to treat contractures of the fingers, often in patients with mild to moderate Volkmann contracture. In this patient, the flexor muscles have been resected, so this procedure is not possible.

A latissimus dorsi muscle provides broad soft-tissue coverage for wounds and can also provide a strong flexion force. It cannot reach beyond the distal elbow. It can restore elbow flexion but cannot be used as a pedicled transfer to restore finger flexion.

 

14

A 35-year-old woman who is an artist is evaluated because of Boutonnière deformity with a flexed proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and an extended distal joint. She reports sustaining a laceration from a paint knife to the nondominant midline dorsal PIP joint 6 months ago. She did not seek medical attention at the time of injury. This patient’s deformity is a result of attenuation of which of the following structures?

A) Oblique retinacular
B) Sagittal bands
C) Terminal tendon
D) Triangular ligament
E) Volar plate

The correct response is Option D.

A Boutonnière deformity occurs with injury to the central tendon and injury or attenuation of the triangular ligament. The lateral bands migrate volarly to become proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint flexors, and their action is on the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint, extending it. The triangular ligaments are bound by the lateral bands, central slip, and terminal tendon.

The sagittal bands of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint originate from the volar plate and anchor the extensor mechanism. The oblique retinacular ligament originates from the volar lateral crest of the proximal phalanx and inserts into the terminal tendon. The volar plates stabilize the MCP and PIP joints. The terminal tendon is the convergence to the lateral bands at the dorsum of the middle phalanx inserting on the distal phalanx.

 

15

A 39-year-old man is referred to the office 4 months after repair of a zone II flexor tendon involving both the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor digitorum profundus tendons to the right long finger. He still has poor range of motion of his long finger. Physical examination shows 45 degrees of active range of motion at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and 25 degrees of active range of motion at the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Active and passive ranges of motion are equal. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A) Continued hand therapy to improve passive range of motion
B) Flexor tenolysis
C) PIP arthrodesis
D) Two-stage flexor tendon reconstruction
E) Observation to allow for scar remodeling

The correct response is Option A.

This patient has adhesions after flexor tendon injury and repair. In this scenario, the recommended course of action is to continue hand therapy to improve passive range of motion. A successful functional outcome following tendon injury depends on supple joints with full passive range of motion and tendon gliding. The ultimate goal would be to perform flexor tenolysis; however, the indications are clear that the patient must have minimal soft-tissue edema, minimal scarring, and full or near-full passive range of motion.

Active tendon range of motion depends on the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor digitorum profundus gliding within the flexor tendon sheath. Flexor tendon adhesions are a potential complication any time the flexor tendon sheath is violated, as a result of either surgery or trauma. The literature shows a reoperation rate of 6% after flexor tendon repair and an adhesion rate of 4%.

This patient is 4 months post-surgery and reports compliance with supervised hand therapy. Despite this, he has poor active and passive range of motion. Although most authors recommend waiting at least 3 to 6 months before attempting tenolysis, this patient is unlikely to improve with observation alone.

Tenolysis is a technically demanding procedure, and all patients must be counseled preoperatively that complications such as neurovascular injury, injury to the pulley system, and tendon rupture are possible outcomes. In cases of tendon rupture or patients requiring pulley reconstruction at the time of tenolysis, two-stage tendon reconstruction with implantation of a silicone rod is indicated. However, this would be a salvage procedure only and not first-line treatment.

Proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint arthrodesis would be limited to a salvage procedure in patients who are unable to undergo tendon repair or reconstruction.

 

16

Following central slip injury, volar subluxation of the lateral bands can lead to which of the following deformities?

A) Boutonnière
B) Lumbrical plus
C) Mallet
D) Quadriga
E) Swan-neck

The correct response is Option A.

The triangular ligament stabilizes the lateral bands dorsally, thereby preventing volar subluxation of the lateral bands to the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint rotation of axis, and the boutonnière deformity.

The swan-neck deformity occurs when the lateral bands sublux dorsal to the PIP joint rotation of axis. This is prevented by the transverse retinacular ligament, which acts to prevent dorsal migration of the lateral bands at the PIP joint.

Neither the mallet, quadriga, or lumbrical plus deformities are caused by volar subluxation of the lateral bands.

 

17

A 16-year-old boy is brought to the office after “jamming” the right long finger of the dominant hand while playing football. Upon active extension, the patient exhibits an extension lag of 40 degrees at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, and hyperextension at the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

A) Central slip disruption
B) Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion
C) PIP volar plate tear
D) Sagittal band rupture
E) Swan neck deformity

The correct response is Option A.

This is the basis of the Elson test for central slip disruption of the extensor mechanism of the finger. When the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint is maximally passively flexed, the central slip is normally pulled distally, resulting in slack in the terminal tendon. Injury to the central slip eliminates this slack through the lateral band and allows extensor tension to be generated at the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Thus, with central slip injury, the DIP joint can be actively extended with maximal PIP flexion.

Swan neck deformity results from terminal extensor tendon disruption and total inability to extend the DIP joint independent of PIP position. Flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) avulsion results in inability to flex the DIP joint. In the Elson test, DIP flexion is always possible. PIP volar plate injury may result in jamming of the volar plate within the PIP joint and paradoxical inability to flex (extension contracture) at the PIP joint. There will also be hyperextension PIP joint pain and laxity. Sagittal band disruption results in inability to actively extend at the metacarpophalangeal joint, but the finger can often maintain extension if passively placed in this position.

 

18

A 3-year-old girl is brought to the office for follow-up because she is unable to flex the interphalangeal joint of the thumb of the dominant right hand. She underwent repair of a laceration of the thenar eminence of the affected hand 8 weeks ago. Operative exploration shows a 3-cm gap of the flexor pollicis longus in Zone III. Reconstruction with a palmaris longus graft is planned. Which of the following is the most appropriate postoperative management?

A) Complete immobilization for 4 weeks
B) Removable dorsal-block splint; passive and active-assist flexion
C) Removable dorsal-block splint; passive flexion
D) Removable dorsal-block splint; passive, active-assist, active flexion
E) No immobilization

The correct response is Option A.

Early motion protocols are standard for adult tendon repairs but are not generally suitable for very young children due to poor compliance. Children have a remarkable ability to regain motion after tendon injury, especially for repairs or grafts that are outside of Zone II. In this vignette, the reconstruction was in Zone III, and the prognosis for regaining full motion even after a month of immobilization is excellent. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that a child of this age will predictably comply with splint wear and motion restrictions for the duration of tendon healing. Thus, the risk of early rupture outweighs the risk of stiffness. There are advocates of successful early motion protocols in children with Zone II tendon repairs, but most studies have failed to demonstrate an appreciable benefit of such a practice.

19

A 22-year-old laborer underwent four-strand and epitendinous repair of a Zone II flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) and flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) injury to the long finger of the dominant right hand 5 days ago. Early active motion therapy protocol is selected for rehabilitation, by which the injured finger is passively flexed and the wrist extended, with the patient then asked to actively maintain a flexed grasp. In contrast to the rubber band Kleinert technique, this protocol is most likely to have which of the following effects on the repaired finger?

A) Decreased risk of tendon rupture
B) Greater risk of finger flexion contracture
C) Increased FDP and FDS excursion
D) More tendon adhesions
E) Prolonged tendon repair softening

The correct response is Option C.

Low force and moderate excursion therapy protocols continue to be the most effective protocol following flexor tendon repairs. However, increasing the applied force to the repair site during postoperative rehabilitation beyond 5 N does not accelerate accrual of repair site strength after a multistranded repair. In vivo repair, results have shown that early active mobilization may limit tendon end softening and loss of repair strength that generally occurs after the first 7 days.

The mode of rehabilitation described was popularized by Strickland and has been shown to improve outcomes of Zone II repairs, probably due to both increased absolute as well as relative tendon excursions. However, in order to reduce the potential increased repair rupture rate, at least four-strand repair is required. This increased excursion leads to fewer tendon adhesions.

Because the fingers are flexed by rubber bands, the Kleinert technique predisposes the patient to flexion contractures. A combination of the Duran passive range of motion and the Kleinert technique improves the results.

 

20

A 42-year-old right-hand–dominant construction worker is evaluated for an 8-week history of pain with wrist motion. Physical examination shows swelling 4 cm proximal to the Lister tubercle. There is tenderness to palpation and crepitation over the muscle bellies of the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis. The remainder of the examination shows no abnormalities. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

A) Basal joint synovitis
B) de Quervain synovitis
C) Extensor pollicis longus tendinitis
D) Intersection syndrome
E) Wartenberg syndrome

The correct response is Option D.

Intersection syndrome is synovitis of the second dorsal compartment. It is located where the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis cross the extensor carpi radialis longus and extensor carpi radialis brevis. The syndrome often occurs in athletes with repetitive forceful extension. The swelling is located 4 to 6 cm proximal to Lister tubercle.

Basal joint arthritis and synovitis would have tenderness located at the wrist crease at the carpometacarpal joint and may have x-ray findings. de Quervain is synovitis of the first dorsal compartment, which would be located over the radial styloid and have a positive Finkelstein sign. Wartenberg syndrome is radial sensory nerve compression where the nerve exits the supinator muscle. Symptoms would be paresthesia over the radial nerve distribution and a Tinel sign. Extensor pollicis longus tendinitis is synovitis of the third dorsal compartment with vague dorsal wrist pain and tenderness, usually over the Lister tubercle with exacerbation with thumb extension.

 

21

A 23-year-old man comes to the office for follow-up evaluation 14 months after sustaining a closed brachial plexus injury in a motor vehicle collision. He was initially treated at another facility with occupational therapy and observation. He has been compliant with therapy. Physical examination shows 4/5 strength in shoulder abduction, elbow flexion, elbow extension, and finger flexion. He is unable to extend the wrist or fingers but has good passive mobility of the wrist and fingers. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step to restore wrist and finger extension?

A) Distal nerve transfer
B) Intraplexus nerve grafting
C) Pedicled latissimus muscle transfer
D) Tendon transfer
E) Continued observation

The correct response is Option D.

The most appropriate management for the patient described is tendon transfers to restore wrist, finger, and thumb extension. Following closed brachial plexus injuries, patients should receive CT scan or MR myelogram and electrodiagnostic studies at 3 to 4 weeks. This will allow enough time to see pseudomeningoceles and denervation changes. The electromyography and nerve conduction studies are generally repeated at 14 to 16 weeks to look for signs of regenerating axons, and this information is used to help determine the strategy for reconstruction. Surgery is recommended in the absence of clinical or electrical evidence of recovery.

The patient described has late symptoms, and any strategy that involves attempting to repair or reconstruct the injured nerves is not recommended. After 12 to 18 months, useful motor recovery is unlikely due to intraneural fibrosis, loss of Schwann cells, muscle atrophy, and motor end-plate degeneration. Tendon transfers may be done at any time assuming that there are suitable donor tendons (at least 4/5 strength and full excursion) and that full passive mobility is present. In this example, the patient has adequate donor tendons from the median and ulnar nerves, and full passive range of motion. Examples of tendon transfers include: palmaris longus to extensor pollicis longus, pronator teres to extensor carpi radialis brevis, and flexor carpi ulnaris to extensor digitorum communis.

Early or subacute exploration of the injured plexus with resection and intraplexal nerve grafting can be used with ruptures or neuromas that do not conduct a nerve action potental across the lesion. In adults, grafting is reserved for C5, C6, and C7 to restore shoulder abduction, elbow flexion, elbow extension, and wrist extension. Nerve grafting for lower trunk injuries in adults is generally not successful due to the length and time required for the regenerating axon to reach the distal target muscles.

Nerve transfers have become a very useful and versatile tool for reconstruction of brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries. A less important distal nerve is sacrificed to replace the function of a more important nerve. Nerve transfers can be performed in preganglionic injuries and to decrease the distance to the target muscle for reinnervation. Ideally, nerve transfers are performed within 6 months of the injury. Studies have shown greater than 70% will achieve M3 function for elbow flexion and shoulder abduction. Common donor nerves include the spinal accessory, intercostals, anterior interosseous, and triceps branch.

Other options for late reconstruction include pedicled muscle transfers and neurotized functional free muscle transfers. The latissimus dorsi muscle can be used to restore elbow flexion or elbow extension but will not reach beyond the elbow. Currently, free muscle transfer is the best option to restore hand and wrist function in complete brachial plexus palsy.

 

22

A 24-year-old man with a 1-year history of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus comes to the office 3 months after sustaining a laceration of the left ring finger. Physical examination shows a thick but mobile cutaneous scar. Two-point discrimination in the fingertip is 7 mm, compared with 3 mm in other fingertips. There is no active or passive range of motion in the affected digit. Photographs are shown. Which of the following findings is most likely to preclude reconstruction in this patient?

A) Elevated hemoglobin A1c
B) Hypertrophy of the scar
C) Increased two-point discrimination
D) Length of time from the initial injury
E) Stiffness of the interphalangeal joints

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option E.

Of the options listed, the most likely option to result in poor outcome in the setting of delayed tendon repair is stiffness of the interphalangeal joints. Hand therapy directed at achieving passive range of motion of the finger before reconstruction may make repair possible and should be attempted before proceeding with surgery.

Although poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of perioperative infection, it would not impact the ability to perform a reconstruction. Likewise, the amount of time that has passed since the initial injury places the patient outside the range typically accepted for delayed primary repair, but would not directly affect a reconstruction.

Digital nerve injury requiring repair/reconstruction has been considered a relative contraindication to repair. The increased two-point discrimination in this patient suggests a prior injury with recovery similar to what might be expected with primary nerve repair. In this setting, the need for concomitant digital nerve repair is unlikely.

Although thick, the cutaneous scar is mobile, suggesting that it is not contributing to the lack of motion at the interphalangeal joints. Immature scars or wounds requiring further reconstruction would also be contraindications to reconstruction.

 

23

An otherwise healthy 32-year-old woman returns to the emergency department because she is unable to use her right hand 20 days after she underwent wound closure for management of a laceration to the hand. A photograph of the patient attempting to make a fist is shown. On examination, there is decreased sensation in the ulnar distribution, and the hand is warm. Which of the following tests is likely to provide the most pertinent information in developing a treatment plan for this patient’s injury?

A) CT angiography
B) Electromyography/nerve conduction study
C) Magnetic resonance angiography
D) Ultrasonography
E) No testing is necessary; physical findings are sufficient

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option E.

The patient described has a significant wrist injury until proven otherwise. Physical examination will be the most helpful in making a determination regarding what should be done next. Electromyography/nerve conduction study typically does not give actionable information until 3 weeks or more after injury. Ultrasonography may be helpful but would not give more information than one could get from a thorough physical examination and would likely be painful as the probe is pressed on the wound. CT angiography can be critical preoperatively if there was a concern regarding inflow. Magnetic resonance angiography would be revealing but would be expensive and unnecessary in this setting.

The patient was taken to the operating room for exploration. Intraoperative and postoperative images are shown.

A image thumb
24

A 30-year-old woman comes to the office because of a laceration of the dorsal long finger extensor tendon. Physical examination shows extension of all fingers to zero degrees at the metacarpophalangeal joint. Which of the following structures provides extension force that explains this exam finding?

A) Deep transverse metacarpal ligament
B) Intact paratenon
C) Interosseous muscles
D) Juncturae tendinum
E) Lumbrical muscles

The correct response is Option D.

Juncturae tendinum are tendon-like bands that connect the long, ring, and little finger extensor digitorum communis tendons. If the long finger extensor tendon is lacerated proximal to the attachment of the juncturae tendinum between the long and ring fingers, the ring finger extensor digitorum communis tendon will apply extension force to the distal long finger extensor tendon via the juncturae tendinum and produce metacarpophalangeal (MCP) extension.

Interossesous and lumbrical muscles produce flexion of the MCP joint. The deep transverse metacarpal ligament stabilized the metacarpal heads relative to each other but does not produce motion at the MCP joint. In this patient, the tendon is visible and noted to be completely lacerated; therefore, the paratenon is not intact.

 

25

An 80-year-old woman comes for evaluation because she is unable to flex the tip of the little finger of her nondominant hand 9 months after sustaining a laceration from a knife. She did not seek treatment at the time of injury. She has no pain or any difficulty with activities of daily living. Physical examination shows a well-healed laceration over the volar aspect of the middle phalanx. Active range of motion is full in the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints; there is no flexion at the distal interphalangeal joint. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) Delayed primary flexor digitorum profundus repair
B) Flexor digitorum superficialis transfer
C) PIP joint arthrodesis
D) Staged flexor tendon reconstruction with placement of a silicone rod followed by tendon grafting
E) No intervention is indicated

The correct response is Option E.

No intervention is indicated for this patient. The principles of tendon repair and reconstruction have evolved since the first description of primary tendon repair in Zone II in 1967. Proper patient selection is essential before attempting any reconstruction to restore functional motion.

The indications for grafting or reconstructing through an intact flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) are narrow, and sacrifice of an intact FDS is generally not recommended. Most of the functional arch of motion is maintained with the superficialis tendon, and many patients will function well with an FDS digit alone. Profundus reconstruction through an intact FDS is most often reserved for patients between 10 and 21 years old with high occupational demands for dexterity such as artists or musicians. This patient is beyond the recommended age range for an optimal outcome and is reporting no functional deficits as a result of her injury. In addition, delayed symptoms may give a clue to the patient’s ability to comply with rigorous postoperative therapy.

Delayed primary repair can be attempted up to several weeks after a flexor tendon injury, and up to 6 weeks in pediatric patients. However, 9 months is well beyond the time when a primary repair would be possible. The FDS from an adjacent finger can be used as the proximal motor in cases of tendon graft reconstruction or tendon repair rupture. This is a consideration if the native proximal stump of the profundus is significantly damaged or scarred and has poor excursion. In this patient, reconstruction is not indicated, and nothing is mentioned regarding the proximal tendon.

A distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint arthrodesis may be indicated if the DIP joint is unstable with a well-functioning proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Tenodesis of the flexor digitorum profundus stump is another option for soft-tissue DIP stabilization.

Tendon reconstruction is indicated when a delay in treatment makes primary tendon repair impossible. A healed wound with full passive range of motion, absence of significant scarring, and an intact flexor retinacular pulley system are considered prerequisites for a single-stage reconstruction. In any other situation, a two-stage reconstruction with implantation of a temporary silicone rod is indicated. This would be the reconstructive strategy of choice for this patient if the FDS tendon were also involved in the original injury.

26

A 25-year-old man is scheduled to undergo muscle transfer with the gracilis muscle to restore finger flexion. To optimize function, the muscle should be inset under which of the following?

A) Less tension than it was in the leg
B) The same tension as it was in the leg
C) More tension than it was in the leg
D) No tension

The correct response is Option B.

Functional muscle transfers are a way to restore motion that has been lost. The gracilis muscle is a common option for this kind of transfer. To optimize the outcome, the muscle should be inset at the same tension it was under in the leg.

The physiologic basis for this technique is that muscle fibers function best at a particular length/tension relationship. Muscles are typically under ideal tension in their donor position. When transferred, a muscle can be placed under too much or too little tension. If a muscle is overstretched, there is little overlap of the actin and myosin units, and the contractile force is weak. If the muscle is under too little tension, the actin and myosin units aren’t able to achieve maximal contraction. Insetting a muscle under no tension produces the same result as insetting it under less tension.

27

A 35-year-old handyman comes to the office for follow-up 12 days after he underwent repair of the flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis (FDP and FDS) tendons of the little finger of the nondominant hand because of a knife injury. Early active motion was initiated during occupational therapy with sudden loss of flexion of distal and proximal joints yesterday. Which of the following is the most appropriate treatment?

A) Delay treatment for 10 weeks, then place a silicone rod
B) Discontinue occupational therapy for 2 weeks, then resume with a Duran passive protocol
C) Fuse the proximal and distal joints of the little finger
D) Repair the FDS and FDP tendons
E) Transfer the FDS tendon of the ring finger to the FDP of the little finger

The correct response is Option D.

Tendon rupture can occur early or late, up to 6 to 7 weeks, with days 7 to 10 being most common. Reoperation with repair of the previously repaired tendons will yield results similar to primary repair. Therefore, discontinuation of therapy and rod placement are incorrect. Repair should be undertaken before 2 weeks due to tendon shortening.

Repair of both tendons will retain independent finger motion with greater power and decreased chance of proximal interphalangeal joint hyperextension. There will also be a better bed for FDP gliding. Therefore, flexor digitorum superficialis transfer is incorrect. Arthrodesis is reserved for failed treatment.

28

A 35-year-old, right-hand-dominant man comes to the office because of passively correctable clawing of all four fingers of the right hand 1 year after he sustained a stab wound to the proximal right forearm that lacerated the ulnar nerve and artery, median nerve, flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS), flexor digitorum profundus, flexor carpi radialis (FCR), and flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU). Each of the injured structures was repaired primarily on the day of injury. A photograph is shown. Which of the following tendons is the most appropriate donor to address the clawing deformity?

A) Abductor pollicis brevis
B) Brachioradialis
C) Extensor carpi radialis brevis
D) FCRbr> E) FDS-3 to the long finger

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option C.

The flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor carpi radialis musculotendinous units were lacerated in the original injury. They would not be appropriate donor motors due to this. Brachioradialis transfer to the flexor pollicis longus transfer has been reported for patients with cervical spine injuries, but it is not used for transfers to restore intrinsic muscle function. The abductor pollicis brevis cannot be used to correct a claw deformity due to its small size and position in the thenar eminence; in addition, for this patient, its innervation was injured in the original trauma.

Both the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis have been described as a tendon transfer. Neither muscle has been affected by the initial injury. Whichever tendon is not harvested can power wrist extension along with the extensor carpi ulnaris. The tendon does need to be elongated with a graft.

A image thumb
29

A 25-year-old woman comes to the office with a 2-day history of difficulty moving the left thumb. Eight weeks ago, she sustained a nondisplaced distal radius fracture. She has been out of a cast for the past 2 weeks. On examination, thumb retropulsion is absent. Which of the following is the most appropriate definitive treatment?

A) Fusion of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb
B) Fusion of the interphalangeal (IP) joint of the thumb
C) Transfer of the anterior interosseous nerve to the recurrent branch of the median nerve
D) Transfer of the extensor indicis proprius (EIP) tendon to the abductor pollicis brevis tendon
E) Transfer of the EIP tendon to the extensor pollicis longus tendon

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option E.

The scenario depicts a classic case of extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon rupture following distal radius fracture. The reported incidence of EPL tendon rupture ranges from 0.2 to 3%. Ruptures can occur after internal or external fixation due to impingement of hardware on the tendon or due to ischemic changes in the tendon due to swelling of the tendon and the third dorsal compartment.

Reconstruction of the EPL tendon can be accomplished either by tendon transplantation, typically the palmaris interposition between the proximal and distal healthy segments of the EPL tendon, or by transfer of the EIP to the distal segment of EPL tendon. When identified and treated before the EPL muscles retract and shorten, equivalent outcomes can be achieved. Later treatment necessitates tendon transfer.

Fusion of the thumb IP joint may be useful in flexor pollicis longus ruptures that cannot be repaired, but this would not restore thumb retropulsion.

Fusion of the CMC joint can alleviate pain from basal joint arthritis, but would result in further loss of motion of the thumb.

Transfer of the EIP to the abductor pollicis brevis and transfer of the anterior interosseous nerve to the recurrent branch of the median nerve are techniques for restoring thumb palmar abduction/opposition and would not restore retropulsion/extension.

 

30

A 32-year-old man comes to the office because of a "mallet" deformity of the distal joint of the long finger of the dominant hand sustained 12 years ago while he was playing baseball. He has not sought medical treatment until now. On examination, which of the following deformities is most likely?

A) Boutonnière
B) Camptodactyly
C) Clinodactyly
D) Hook-nail
E) Swan-neck

The correct response is Option E.

Flexion deformity of the distal joint seen in mallet finger will lead to secondary hyperextension of the proximal joint. This occurs in a zigzag fashion because of the imbalance of forces. If the terminal tendon is displaced proximally, the conjoined tendons will slide proximally and become extensors to the proximal joint.

A boutonnière deformity is a flexion deformity of the proximal joint from disruption of the central slip. The lateral slips migrate volarly becoming an extensor to the distal joint which then hyperextends. Clinodactyly is a genetic condition in which there is a curvature of the fifth finger toward the fourth finger. A hook nail usually results from loss of nail bed support, usually after amputation. Camptodactyly is also a genetic condition in which there is a fixed flexion deformity of the proximal joint of the little finger.

 

31

A 20-year-old man comes to the office 2 months after "jamming" the long finger of the right hand in a rugby game. On examination, the patient has a boutonnière deformity. The distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint has 20 degrees of hyperextension and active flexion to 85 degrees. X-ray study shows no fracture. Which of the following is the most appropriate initial treatment?

A) Open central slip repair
B) Resection of the lateral bands and oblique retinacular ligament
C) Resection of the lateral bands only
D) Splinting of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) and DIP joints in extension
E) Splinting of the PIP in extension and active DIP flexion

The correct response is Option E.

The patient has a boutonnière deformity that is passively correctable. In most instances, this can be successfully managed with splinting of the PIP joint in extension while allowing active DIP flexion. Splinting of the PIP in extension helps restore central slip continuity; active DIP flexion with the PIP joint extended draws the tight, volarly displaced lateral bands into a more dorsal position while reducing DIP joint hyperextension. Holding the PIP and DIP joints both in extension will not correct the deformity. Open central slip repair is indicated if there is an open wound, but that is not the case in this scenario. Resection of the distal lateral bands only is a reasonable treatment for chronic deformity by relaxing the lateral bands. There is no role for resection of both lateral bands and oblique retinacular ligament in the management of this condition.

 

32

A 49-year-old man comes to the office because he has been unable to extend the wrist, fingers, and thumb of his right hand since fracturing his humerus 16 months ago. He underwent open reduction and internal fixation at that time. The fracture healed well. There has been no change in function since the procedure. Physical examination shows the patient is unable to actively extend the wrist, fingers, and thumb. Tendon transfers are planned. Which of the following is the most appropriate muscle to transfer for restoration of finger extension?

A) Brachioradialis
B) Extensor carpi radialis longus
C) Flexor carpi ulnaris
D) Palmaris longus
E) Pronator teres

The correct response is Option C.

The most appropriate muscle to transfer for restoration of finger extension is the flexor carpi ulnaris.

The radial nerve can be injured as a result of humerus fracture and/or surgery as it crosses the spiral groove of the humerus. The resultant radial nerve palsy will cause inability to extend the wrist, fingers, and thumb.

Reinnervation of the muscle ideally should be completed within 12 to 18 months following injury to allow for recovery. In this patient who has radial nerve palsy after humerus fracture, the time following injury has been too long, so nerve repairs or nerve transfers are not a viable option, and tendon transfer is the procedure of choice.

Tendon transfer involves the use of a noncritical or expendable donor tendon to provide a missing function. The tendon to be transferred should have adequate strength and range of motion to provide the desired function. Ideally, the tendon used should have synergistic action and allow for tenodesis to facilitate reeducation.

Transfer of the flexor carpi ulnaris to the extensor digitorum communis will provide extensor function of the fingers, as it has adequate power and excursion and takes advantage of the linkage between wrist flexion and finger extension. Other typical tendon transfers for finger extension in radial nerve palsy include the flexor carpi radialis and the flexor digitorum superficialis.

The brachioradialis is a radial nerve innervated muscle and will not be functioning in this patient who has a high radial nerve palsy. In low radial nerve palsies, it can be used to restore thumb extension. The brachioradialis can also be used to restore finger or wrist extension, as well as finger or thumb flexion in the appropriate patient.

The extensor carpi radialis longus is not functional in this patient with radial nerve palsy. It can be used as a transfer for finger flexion in the appropriate patient.

The palmaris longus does not have sufficient power to provide finger extension. It can be used as a transfer for thumb extension.

The pronator teres has adequate power but less excursion. It is typically used to restore wrist extension rather than finger extension.

33

A 35-year-old, right-hand-dominant man comes to the office 3 months after he completely severed both the flexor digitorum superficialis and profundus tendons in Zone II of the right long finger. He did not seek medical attention at the time of the injury. Physical examination shows inability to flex actively at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. He has passive range of motion. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) One-stage tendon grafting
B) Primary repair
C) Tendon transfer
D) Two-stage tendon reconstruction
E) Observation only

The correct response is Option D.

When patients present with zone II flexor injuries, it is optimal to repair both flexors within 10 days after the injury before the tendons retract excessively preventing primary approximation of the tendon ends. Late flexor injuries (after 2 weeks) in zones I, III, IV, and V can be managed with single-stage tendon grafting. However, when the injury is in zone II, the sheath has collapsed and tendon grafts cannot be easily pulled under intact pulleys, necessitating pulley reconstruction over a silicone rod in the first stage. Then, in a second stage, the tendon rod is replaced with the tendon graft pulled into the sheath in the proximal to distal direction after suturing the graft to the rod. The tendon is repaired first distally to bone, and then the appropriate tension is set on the proximal juncture repair of the graft to the motor tendon (usually the flexor digitorum superficialis to avoid quadriga and lumbrical plus posture). Two-stage tendon grafting in general is recommended for zone II flexor repairs that present late, require simultaneous critical pulley reconstruction (A2, A4), or if volar finger soft-tissue reconstruction is required. Tendon transfer options would not be long enough to span the defect out to the distal phalanx and the flexor digitorum profundus from other fingers should not be sacrificed. Further observation is certainly not warranted.

34

A 32-year-old woman comes to the emergency department after she sustained an isolated sharp transverse laceration of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon of the index finger of the left hand at the proximal interphalangeal joint flexion crease with a kitchen knife. A four-strand core suture is planned for repair. The ideal purchase length is which of the following distances from the cut tendon end?

A) 5 cm
B) 10 cm
C) 15 cm
D) 20 cm

The correct response is Option B.

For both two-strand and four-strand locking core repair methods, the length of core suture purchase significantly influences both resistance to gapping and also ultimate strength to breaking. The optimal length of purchase is between 0.7 and 1.0 cm. Increased length of purchase from 0.7 to 1.2 cm does not increase the repair strength. Purchase length of 0.4 or less greatly reduces repair strength.

35

A 16-year-old girl is brought for evaluation because she has been unable to extend her left ring finger since the tip of her finger was struck by a basketball during a game 3 hours ago. On physical examination, she is unable to straighten the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. An extensor lag of 35 degrees is noted. X-ray study shows no fracture or dislocation. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) Arthrodesis of the DIP joint
B) Continuous extension splinting of the distal phalanx
C) Exploration and suture of the torn tendon
D) Open repair with reinsertion of the tendon into bone
E) Splinting of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint in extension with the DIP free

The correct response is Option B.

The most appropriate management is continuous extension splinting of the distal phalanx.

The patient has sustained a mallet injury to the left ring finger. There is tearing of the terminal extensor tendon from its insertion at the base of the distal phalanx, resulting in inability to extend the finger at the DIP joint. On occasion, these injuries may be associated with an avulsion fracture from the dorsal aspect of the distal phalanx.

The majority of closed mallet injuries (Type I) in Zone I of the extensor tendon can be treated by continuous extension splinting for 6 to 8 weeks. It is important that the finger not be allowed to flex at the DIP joint during this time period to avoid disruption of healing.

Arthrodesis of the DIP joint is reserved for cases of DIP joint arthritis and would not be necessary in this patient.

Exploration and suture of the tendon can be performed, but results are no better than closed treatment due to the difficulty of obtaining adequate repair of the thin tendinous substance at this level. Additionally, the patient will still require prolonged immobilization of the DIP joint after open repair. Exploration and suture of the tendon is used to treat Type II (open) mallet injuries.

Open repair with reinsertion of tendon into bone is performed in flexor digitorum profundus avulsion injuries.

Splinting of the PIP joint in extension with the DIP joint free is used to treat Zone III extensor tendon injuries (central slip avulsion injuries).

 

36

A 21-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after sustaining injuries to the right volar wrist when he punched a glass window. Surgical exploration shows a complete laceration through the palmaris longus tendon. Based on the proximity of the patient?s injury, which of the following additional structures is most likely injured?

A ) Flexor digitorum superficialis to index
B ) Flexor pollicis longus
C ) Median nerve
D ) Pronator quadratus
E ) Radial artery

The correct response is Option C.

The palmaris longus tendon is located in the middle of the volar wrist, and the median nerve is directly dorsal to this structure. In patients with palmaris longus lacerations at the level of the wrist, it is common to also find the median nerve to be injured.

The palmaris longus tendon is absent in 20% of patients. The superficial volar wrist tendons are the flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, and the flexor carpi ulnaris. The flexor superficialis tendons lie dorsal to the superficial flexors. However, the median nerve rests immediately dorsal to the palmaris longus at the level of the wrist. The flexor superficialis tendons are in a stacked position such that the long and ring finger flexor superficialis tendons rest volar to the index and little finger flexor digitorum superficialis tendons. The flexor digitorum profundus tendons are deep or dorsal to the flexor superficialis tendons and lie in a flat array corresponding to each finger the tendon is coursing to distally. The ulnar nerve and artery are found dorsal to the flexor carpi ulnaris. Accordingly, injuries involving the flexor carpi ulnaris tendon are frequently associated with ulnar nerve and artery injuries.

 

37

A 27-year-old man comes to the office because of an inability to extend the distal phalanx of the long finger after slamming it in a door 3 hours ago. Physical examination shows that the distal phalanx of the long finger is held in 75 degrees of flexion. The patient has no active extension of the joint. Ecchymosis and swelling over the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint is noted. No skin laceration or abrasions exist. X-ray study shows no fracture. A congruent joint is noted. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A ) Arthrodesis of the DIP joint in 15 degrees of flexion
B ) Exploration and repair of the extensor tendon
C ) Percutaneous pin fixation of the DIP and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints
D ) Splinting of the DIP joint at 0 degrees
E ) Observation only

The correct response is Option D.

Avulsions of the terminal extensor tendon, as well as mallet fingers, are some of the most common hand injuries. Tendon avulsion from the distal phalanx may involve the tendon itself or a portion of its bony attachment. In the absence of large joint subluxation or fractures involving large fracture fragments, conservative nonoperative management with splinting is the recommended treatment.

Conservative treatment involves splinting in extension or slight hyperextension. This can involve prefabricated stack splints, malleable aluminum splints, or casting. Outcomes of each of these treatments are similar, but the type of splinting is generally more limited by skin irritation. Pin fixation for the DIP joint is recommended for patients who cannot tolerate splinting or those with special circumstances, such as a surgeon who requires unencumbered use of the hand. Pin fixation should cross the DIP joint only.

 

38

A 55-year-old right-hand-dominant man comes to the office because of a 1-month history of inability to extend the interphalangeal (IP) joint of the right thumb. The patient says he first injured his thumb after falling down a flight of stairs 15 months ago, and was treated with 6 weeks of cast immobilization. Physical examination shows flexion of the IP joint is to 45 degrees with no active extension present. No abnormalities were noted. X-ray study shows a united, nondisplaced distal radius fracture. Which of the following is the most appropriate management of this patient's condition?

A ) Arthrodesis of the thumb IP joint
B ) Excision of bone spur and arthrodesis of the thumb IP joint
C ) Plate fixation of distal radius and tendon transfer of extensor indicis proprius (EIP) tendon
D ) Primary repair of extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon
E ) Tendon transfer of EIP to index EPL tendon

The correct response is Option E.

EPL tendon rupture occurs in 1% of fractures of the distal radius after closed reduction. The incidence of tendon rupture after closed treatment of distal radius fracture is actually greater than that of open treatment and plate fixation. Tendon ruptures may occur early, due to bone spurs, but they also may occur late, years after the fracture. This is believed to be due to an inflammatory synovitis in the area of the third dorsal compartment and a relative ischemia of the EPL tendon in this area. Ultrasound can help establish the diagnosis; the optimal treatment is tendon transfer from the EIP tendon. Arthrodesis of the thumb IP joint can prevent the flexion deformity of a tendon rupture, but it is not a preferred reconstruction method for a young, active person. Unless there is significant pathology at the distal radius, no specific treatment is required for the bone. Delayed primary repair of the EPL tendon is rarely possible.

 

39

A 46-year-old woman comes to the office because she cut her nondominant little finger while peeling an avocado 6 months ago. Since the time of the injury, the patient says that her grip has been weak. Physical examination shows a healed 1-cm scar over the volar aspect of the proximal phalanx. The patient is unable to actively flex the distal interphalangeal (DIP) or proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Two-point discrimination shows no abnormalities on both the ulnar and radial sides of the injured finger. Tendon grafting will be performed to restore little finger flexion. Which of the following is the most important consideration to confirm before performing surgery?

A ) Function of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon
B ) Location of the proximal flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) stump
C ) Normal passive range of motion
D ) Presence of a palmaris longus at either forearm
E ) Symmetry of grip strength

The correct response is Option C.

The most important preoperative achievement is the restoration of good passive flexion of the involved digit. This will allow active range of motion in the postoperative period.

Preoperative examination clearly shows no function of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon. Therefore, in the setting of the sharp injury, it would not be expected to be improvable.

The location of the proximal FDP stump is not appropriate because it is not a significant factor in timing secondary tendon reconstruction; it would not be reasonable to consider planning a delayed primary repair 3 months out. And with a Zone 2 laceration and no FDP function, the FDP stump will be in the palm, due to tethering by the lumbrical muscle.

Confirmation of the presence of a palmaris longus at either forearm is not appropriate because the palmaris is not the only donor tendon for secondary finger flexor reconstruction. The plantaris is a viable option as well, as are the long toe extensors.

Preoperative strengthening of grip is not appropriate because it would do nothing to prepare the little finger for reconstruction.

 

40

A 47-year-old man comes to the office 6 months after undergoing tenodermodesis and application of a removable splint because of an open mallet finger injury with a knife to the dominant right hand. The patient was lost to follow-up despite being urged to return for routine follow-up visits, and says he removed his own sutures and discontinued the splint after 2 weeks. Physical examination shows a residual extensor lag of 25 degrees to the finger. A Fowler tenotomy is discussed regarding reconstructive options. Which of the following structures is most likely to be cut to restore extension of the distal phalanx in this patient?

A ) Central slip
B ) Lateral band
C ) Oblique retinacular ligament
D ) Terminal tendon
E ) Triangular ligament

The correct response is Option A.

The Fowler central slip tenotomy is well known, but seldom used. The central slip or tendon inserts on the base of the middle phalanx and acts on the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. A central slip tenotomy will rebalance the extensor mechanism such that the terminal tendon will be able to extend the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint in patients with a chronic mallet finger. However, many clinical and anatomical studies have shown that the central slip tenotomy may not restore full extension in patients with a preexisting lag of approximately 36 degrees.

Tension on the lateral bands also extends the DIP.

Release of the oblique retinacular ligament (ORL) or the lateral bands would, therefore, not assist in extension of the DIP joint.

Releasing the terminal tendon will only worsen the mallet finger because this is the structure that is disrupted in an open or closed mallet injury. Release of the triangular ligament would likely create a boutonnière deformity. PIP extension (produced by other tissues in the extensor mechanism) elongates the ORL, creating passive tension that extends the DIP.

 

41

A 46-year-old woman comes to the office because she cut her nondominant little finger while peeling an avocado 6 months ago. Since the time of the injury, the patient says that her grip has been weak. Physical examination shows a healed 1-cm scar over the volar aspect of the proximal phalanx. The patient is unable to actively flex the distal interphalangeal (DIP) or proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Two-point discrimination shows no abnormalities on both the ulnar and radial sides of the injured finger. Tendon grafting will be performed to restore little finger flexion. Which of the following is the most important consideration to confirm before performing surgery?

A ) Function of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon
B ) Location of the proximal flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) stump
C ) Normal passive range of motion
D ) Presence of a palmaris longus at either forearm
E ) Symmetry of grip strength

The correct response is Option C.

The most important preoperative achievement is the restoration of good passive flexion of the involved digit. This will allow active range of motion in the postoperative period.

Preoperative examination clearly shows no function of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon. Therefore, in the setting of the sharp injury, it would not be expected to be improvable.

The location of the proximal FDP stump is not appropriate because it is not a significant factor in timing secondary tendon reconstruction; it would not be reasonable to consider planning a delayed primary repair 3 months out. And with a Zone 2 laceration and no FDP function, the FDP stump will be in the palm, due to tethering by the lumbrical muscle.

Confirmation of the presence of a palmaris longus at either forearm is not appropriate because the palmaris is not the only donor tendon for secondary finger flexor reconstruction. The plantaris is a viable option as well, as are the long toe extensors.

Preoperative strengthening of grip is not appropriate because it would do nothing to prepare the little finger for reconstruction.

 

42

A 43-year-old man sustains a traumatic disruption of the central slip of the extensor tendon of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the ring finger. If this injury is left untreated, which of the following is most likely to initiate a boutonnière deformity in this patient?

A ) Disruption of the sagittal band
B ) Disruption of the terminal extensor tendon
C ) Intrinsic tightness of the lumbricals
D ) Quadriga effect
E ) Volar subluxation of the lateral bands

The correct response is Option E.

Disruption of the central slip of the extensor tendon at its insertion into the base of the middle phalanx results in extensor lag at the PIP joint of the finger. If this deformity is left untreated, then a boutonnière deformity may result. This deformity results from subsequent volar subluxation of the lateral bands.

Disruption of the terminal extensor tendon does not result in boutonnière deformity; in fact, the use of the extensor tenotomy distal to the triangular ligament may be used for correction of chronic boutonnière deformity. Intrinsic tightness of the lumbricals and sagittal band disruption do not initiate boutonnière deformity. Quadriga effect results from an imbalance of tendon forces between adjacent fingers and is also not responsible for progression to boutonnière deformity.

Many surgeons consider the results of surgical treatment for boutonnière deformity unpredictable, and so they try splint immobilization to first regain extension and then allow the central slip to heal, even in delayed presentations. Surgical options include reattachment of the central slip and various reconstructions of the lateral bands including tenotomy, tendon grafting, and tendon transfer. Management strategies vary depending on the time since injury and the degree and ability to correct a PIP joint flexion contracture.

 

43

An 18-year-old football player comes to the office because he has been unable to flex his ring finger since tackling an opponent during a game 3 hours ago. Physical examination shows the distal joint in the neutral position with an inability to actively flex. Which of the following is the most likely mechanism of injury?

A ) Forced axial load compression
B ) Forced distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint extension with simultaneous maximal flexion effort
C ) Forced metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint extension with simultaneous maximal abduction effort
D ) Forced pilon style crush
E ) Forced proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint extension with simultaneous maximal extension effort

The correct response is Option B.

Jersey injury occurs when a player grabs the opposing player’s jersey. The DIP joint is in a flexed position and when the tackle is broken, there is a forced extension. Flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) avulsion occurs 75% of the time in the ring finger. In Type I, the tendon only retracts into the palm and requires urgent repair and reinsertion within 7 to 10 days. In Type II, the tendon retracts to the PIP joint level being tethered by the long vinculum. Repair can be delayed 6 to 12 weeks. In Type III, a large bony fragment blocks the tendon from entering the A4 pulley and can be repaired at any time. The FDP insertion is avulsed from the distal phalanx with or without bone fragments. Force applied in any of the other vectors would not create FDP avulsion.

 

44

A 40-year-old man comes to the office for evaluation of sudden-onset difficulty flexing the thumb at the interphalangeal joint. He sustained a displaced scaphoid fracture 6 months ago after a bicycle collision. Which of the following tendons is most likely injured in this patient?

A ) Abductor pollicis brevis
B ) Abductor pollicis longus
C ) Adductor pollicis
D ) Flexor pollicis longus
E ) Opponens pollicis brevis

The correct response is Option D.

The flexor pollicis longus tendon courses through the vicinity of the scaphoid. Scaphoid fracture malunion or scaphoid arthritic spurs can result in ruptures to the flexor pollicis longus tendon. The other tendons described do not course in the area of the scaphoid and would not be injured with disease in the area of the scaphoid.

45

A 54-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after sustaining a laceration of the right hand from a box cutter. Physical examination shows a laceration over the palmar proximal phalanx of the long finger. Complete laceration of the A2 pulley is found at exploration. If the pulley is not repaired, which of the following best describes how flexor tendon mechanics will be affected?

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option C.

The moment arm of the joint refers to a perpendicular line drawn from the mid axis of the joint to the tendon causing movement in the joint. The moment arm represents torque and can be thought of as power at an individual joint. The system can be broken down into simpler terms by thinking of wrenches of different lengths. The longer the wrench, the greater the amount of power can be placed in the turning of a nut onto a bolt. The same applies to the joints of the hand. As the tendon itself gets farther away from the center of rotation of the joint (increased moment arm), there is an increase in the torque on that joint, and, in turn, the power acting upon the rotation of the joint. As a flexor tendon gets farther away from the PIP joint (increase in moment arm), for the same strength of pull, there is an increase in force to that joint. However, there is also a loss of efficiency because the excursion of the tendon needs to increase more and more as the tendon itself gets farther away from the axis of rotation. A greater amount of excursion is required to flex the joint through to a given angle. Therefore, only an increase in moment arm, decrease in PIP joint motion, and increase in power is an appropriate response. This has clinical significance in situations such as those presented in the scenario described. Cutting the A2 pulley allows the tendon to migrate farther in a palmar direction, or "bowstring" away, from the axis of rotation. This yields an increase in the moment arm, a decrease in tendon excursion, and, ultimately, an increase in power, with the loss of efficiency. The range of motion is decreased as the flexor tendons can no longer flex the joint fully. This effect is strongest in the A2 and A4 pulleys, which prevent bowstringing of the tendons at the proximal and middle phalanges, respectively.

 

46

A 30-year-old woman comes for follow-up 1 week after undergoing repair of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendons in Zone II following a stab wound to her little finger. Physical examination shows that she is unable to flex her distal joint. MRI shows FDP tendon rupture. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A ) FDS IV tendon transfer
B ) Free-tendon graft
C ) Fuse the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint
D ) Repair FDP tendon
E ) No intervention at this time

The correct response is Option D.

Ruptures of repaired tendons usually occur postoperative days 7 through 10. The best way to diagnose the rupture is MRI when active flexion is relatively contraindicated. Early ruptures can be managed with urgent re-repair. Tendon transfers and grafting should be reserved as secondary reconstruction procedures and should not be needed when the native FDP is available and not shortened. Fusion should be reserved for salvage and in patients where shorter recovery times are beneficial, such as laborers. Doing nothing can lead to swan-neck deformities, adhesions, and stiffness.

 

47

A 46-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after sustaining an injury to the dominant right wrist. Examination shows a 6-cm-diameter wound on the dorsal surface of the wrist. Significant contamination of the wound and segmental tendon loss are noted. Neurovascular status is intact. The patient is unable to extend the index, long, and ring fingers. Which of the following is the most important next step in management?

A) Immediate coverage with a free flap and delayed tendon grafting
B) Irrigation and debridement of all contaminated and nonviable tissue
C) Placement of allograft tendons and skin substitutes
D) Primary repair of tendons
E) Primary single-stage tendon grafting and coverage with a groin flap

The correct response is Option B.

Severely contaminated wounds, open fractures, and joint capsule lacerations require emergent and thorough irrigation and debridement. Fractures and skin loss should be treated in the initial procedure when feasible. Fractures should be fixed rigidly enough to allow early dynamic splinting or active motion. For lacerations without associated injury, the extensor tendon can be repaired emergently or in a delayed primary fashion after irrigation, debridement, and loose closure of the wound. If the repair is delayed, it should be performed within 7 days before the tendon ends retract or soften.

The results of extensor tendon repair depend on the complexity of trauma and the anatomical zone of tendon injury. In general, results of primary extensor tendon repair are better in Verdan Zones I, II, IV, and V, and worse in Zones III and VI.

Tendons should not be repaired under tension as tendon force imbalance and tendon rupture will usually result. Tendon grafting should not be performed in a contaminated wound and probably should be staged in this situation if it is necessary because of tendon loss.

48

An 18-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after sustaining a degloving injury to the dorsal aspect of the nondominant left hand in an all-terrain vehicle rollover. Physical examination shows loss of the soft tissues and the extensor tendons of the index, long, ring, and little fingers and an abnormal Allen test. Fractures of the second, third, and fourth metacarpal shafts are also present. Following serial debridements, the patient has a dorsal hand defect measuring 6 × 8 cm with obvious open fractures. Which of the following is the most appropriate management of the soft-tissue defect?

A) Anterolateral thigh free flap
B) Full-thickness skin grafting
C) Rectus abdominis muscle free flap
D) Reverse radial forearm flap
E) Split-thickness skin grafting

The correct response is Option A.

Degloving injuries of the dorsal hand are managed initially with serial debridements. Negative pressure dressings can also be used as a bridge to definitive soft-tissue reconstruction. Single-stage reconstruction involves bone fixation, tendon reconstruction, and soft-tissue coverage. Dorsal hand defects with exposed bone cannot be safely reconstructed with a split-thickness skin graft and require durable coverage. Although more durable than split-thickness skin grafts, full-thickness grafts cannot be expected to take over a large area such as this defect with exposed bone. Appropriate choices include the anterolateral thigh free flap or other perforator flaps (thoracodorsal artery perforator flap) or muscle flaps. A defect of the size described is best reconstructed with a perforator flap that minimizes donor site defects. Local flaps such as the reverse radial forearm flap can be used in the upper extremity, although advances in microsurgery have led to a decrease in use, so as to minimize the added morbidity of the already injured extremity.

 

49

A 35-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after sustaining a deep laceration of his left dorsal hand. Physical examination shows a transverse 2-cm laceration over the dorsal metacarpal joint of the index finger with exposed extensor tendons. Radial nerve block at the level of the wrist is planned before exploration. The needle should be inserted superficial to which of the following landmarks?

A) Flexor carpi radialis tendon
B) Lister tubercle
C) Radial artery
D) Second dorsal extensor compartment
E) Styloid process of the radius

The correct response is Option E.

The sensory branch of the radial nerve arises between the brachioradialis and extensor carpi radialis brevis approximately 8 cm proximal to the styloid process of the radius. It pierces the fascia approximately 5 cm (3 fingerbreadths) proximal to the radial styloid. The nerve then fans out proximal to the wrist and passes superficially to the radial styloid and first dorsal compartment. The flexor carpi radialis tendon and radial artery are located in the volar forearm. The second dorsal extensor compartment and Lister tubercle of the radius are dorsal and ulnar to the radial sensory nerve.

 

50

A 30-year-old man comes to the emergency department after sustaining a laceration of the palm of the left hand from a knife. He reports difficulty flexing the ring finger of the left hand. A photograph is shown. Which of the following is the most appropriate method to clinically assess the integrity of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon?

A) Hold the distal interphalangeal joint of the ring finger in extension and ask the patient to flex
B) Hold the index, long, and little fingers in extension and ask the patient to flex
C) Hold the long, ring, and little fingers flexed at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint and ask the patient to flex
D) Hold the MCP joints of the index, long, and little fingers in flexion and ask the patient to extend
E) Hold the ring finger extended at the MCP joint and ask the patient to flex

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option B.

The flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) tendon flexes the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. The flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon can also flex the PIP joint, in addition to flexing the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. To confirm that the FDS tendon is flexing the PIP joint, FDP motion must be excluded.

The FDP tendons to the long, ring, and little fingers share a common muscle belly. Thus, holding the long and little fingers in extension will prevent the FDP to the long, ring, and little fingers from firing. Any flexion of the PIP joint of the ring finger must then be caused by the FDS tendon.

Holding the DIP joint of the ring finger in extension will prevent DIP flexion. It will not, however, prevent the pull of the FDP tendon from being transmitted to the PIP joint.

Holding the long, ring, and little fingers flexed at the MCP joint will not exclude FDP motion.

Holding the MCP joint of the ring finger extended will not exclude FDP motion.

Asking the patient to extend will not assess the integrity of a flexor tendon such as the FDS.

 

51

A 28-year-old man comes to the office for evaluation because of restricted movement of the little finger of his right hand 3 years after sustaining a Zone II flexor tendon injury. Active flexion of the proximal interphalangeal joint is to 20 degrees; he is unable to actively flex the distal joint. Staged flexor tendon reconstruction is considered. Which of the following factors would prohibit consideration for tendon reconstruction?

A) Limited passive range of motion of the distal interphalangeal joint
B) Patient age
C) Poorly compliant patient
D) Scarred soft-tissue bed
E) Uncontrolled pain

The correct response is Option C.

Staged flexor tendon reconstruction is a challenging endeavor that should not be undertaken lightly. To reach a successful outcome, both the patient and the surgeon must make a commitment to extensive surgeries, therapy sessions, and the possibility that the outcome may not be ideal; in fact, the outcome may compromise some existing function (as in cases of secondary quadriga or infection).

Prerequisites for attempted surgical intervention include good passive range of motion of all joints involved; a healthy, well-vascularized soft-tissue bed for tendon gliding; and good patient compliance with postoperative therapy and wound care. In such a setting, staged flexor tendon reconstruction can be undertaken with a reasonably good chance of success. Patient range of motion can be controlled with therapy. With good compliance, patient age is not a factor. Uncontrolled pain can become controlled with appropriate medication and therapy.

 

52

A 15-year-old boy is brought to the emergency department because he felt a “pop” followed by acute pain in his left ring finger while grabbing an opposing player’s jersey during a rugby match. Physical examination shows pain, tenderness, and swelling over the volar aspect of the finger, from the area of the distal interphalangeal joint flexor crease to the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint crease. The distal phalanx rests at neutral and no active flexion is possible. The patient can flex at the PIP with minimal discomfort. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A) End-to-end flexor tendon repair
B) Flexor tendon reinsertion
C) Open reduction and pin fixation of the middle phalanx
D) Splinting, followed in 2 weeks by range-of-motion exercises
E) Tendon transfer

The correct response is Option B.

The scenario described provides a classic example of a distal flexor tendon avulsion. Because of several potential factors, the ring finger is the most common finger to present with this type of injury. The flexor digitorum profundus of the ring finger has a less robust insertion at the distal phalanx than the long finger, which is a tip-off in the vignette for this classic injury. Yet the ring finger is similarly involved in the type of hyperextension force, or resisted flexion force, which generates this injury. The little finger does not present as much with this injury either.

Flexor tendon reinsertion is correct, because the indicated management is early operation and reinsertion, if possible, of the avulsed tendon. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but that discussion is not central to the question.

Splinting, followed in 2 weeks by range-of-motion exercises is wrong, because that answer describes how one might treat a sprain, which this is not. If one treated the tendon avulsion conservatively, and incorrectly, by splinting, the surgeon would lose the window for early repair, and the outcome for the patient would be poor. Secondary or delayed reconstruction in these cases is often not possible, and when possible, they often have results inferior to immediate repair.

Tendon transfer is wrong because tendon transfers are not used for immediate repair of flexor avulsions. Tendon transfers are useful for secondary reconstruction in nerve palsies, for example. But they are not relevant to this distal and acute injury, confined to a single digit.

Open reduction and pin fixation of the middle phalanx is wrong because the injury is not a fracture of the middle phalanx. It is true that one form of the flexor avulsion can involve an avulsion fracture off of the volar aspect of the distal phalanx, and that reinsertion of the fragment is part of the repair. But flexor tendon avulsion does not involve fracture of the middle phalanx. Furthermore, this is not an avulsion of the flexor digitorum sublimis because the patient flexes at the PIP with minimal discomfort, as per the vignette.

End-to-end flexor tendon repair is wrong because this injury is a tendon avulsion from a distal bony insertion. There is no distal tendon to which to perform an end-to-end repair. Successful repair of a flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) avulsion really requires some form of anchoring of the distal FDP to distal phalanx bone.

 

53

A 25-year-old lawyer comes to the office because of a 1-year history of limited ability to extend the right long finger at the proximal interphalangeal joint with no limitation of flexion following a jammed finger after playing basketball. X-ray study shows a normal articular surface and no evidence of fracture or foreign body. Which of the following is the most likely cause of this patient's condition?

A) Dorsal collateral ligament contracture
B) Dorsal edema
C) Dupuytren contracture
D) Extensor adhesions
E) Flexor adhesions

The correct response is Option E.

Previous injuries to a flexor tendon or canal can result in scar formation of the tendon to an adjacent structure. Other structures which can limit digital extension include volar plate contracture (including checkrein ligaments), collateral ligament contracture (true and accessory), scarring or insufficiency of the skin volar to the joint, and joint irregularity, arthrosis, or bony block.

Dorsal collateral ligament contractures can limit the passive and active flexion of the PIP joint. Dorsal edema occurs commonly following injury near the PIP joint but also limits flexion of the joint. Dupuytren contracture rarely involves the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint in a patient of the age described; it is a spontaneously occurring condition that is more common with advanced age. The metacarpophalangeal joint is more likely to be involved first, followed by the PIP joint. Extensor adhesions can occur following injury to the dorsal finger and are a common cause of limitation in flexion.

 

54

A 24-year-old man comes to the office three months after sustaining a crush injury to the volar aspect of the right forearm during the rollover of a motor vehicle. Fasciotomies were performed when he awoke from a coma two days after the initial injury. Physical examination shows the digits flexed into the palm. Tenodesis effect without fixed contractures is present. A modified Henry fasciotomy scar is noted on the right forearm; skin coverage is otherwise excellent. No peripheral nerve injury is noted. Which of the following is the most appropriate surgical procedure to correct this deformity?

A ) Innervated free muscle transfer

B ) Muscle slide

C ) Resection of the intrinsic muscles

D ) Tendon lengthening

E ) Tendon transfers

The correct response is Option D.

The most appropriate surgical procedure for the correction of the deformity described is tendon lengthening. Patients with established ischemic forearm contractures are categorized by both the Holden and Tsuge classification systems. In Holden I injuries, the arterial ischemia and venous stasis begin proximal to the forearm fascial compartment. Holden II injuries are from direct trauma, and the ischemia begins at the site of the injury. The Tsuge classification defines the extent of muscle involvement as mild, moderate, or severe.

The patient described would be classified as a Holden II, mild type, because his ischemia was caused by direct trauma and his muscle involvement is limited to the deep flexors at the site of the injury. Z-plasty tendon lengthening and possible skin release and limited scarred muscle resection are sufficient.

Innervated free muscle transfers are reserved for Holden I or II, severe type, injuries. Often with nerve grafting in an attempt to establish protective distal sensation and other procedures, innervated free muscle transfers are utilized to provide both function and coverage in these patients with complete loss of muscle function after ischemic injury.

Muscle slide techniques are reserved for patients with Holden I, moderate injuries. These patients have ischemic changes affecting the entire muscle belly. Some of the muscles €™ contractile units should be intact. Combined with other procedures, the muscle slide permits a reduction of the distal contractures while preserving the muscle €™s residual contractile capabilities.

Resection of the dorsal intrinsic muscles and part of the adductor pollicis muscle is reserved for patients with ischemic contracture of the intrinsic muscles. Intrinsic ischemic contractures may accompany any ischemic Volkmann contracture, but this will often present as the hand assuming the intrinsic-plus position following reconstruction of the extrinsic musculature. The patient described is not presenting with an intrinsic-plus deformity.

Tendon transfers are used for patients with Holden II, moderate type, injuries. Proximal muscle slides are not usually performed because detachment of these healthy muscles will potentially diminish their functional capacity. Combined with other procedures, tendon transfers are used to augment any residual existing muscle function.

 

55

A 46-year-old man comes to the emergency department because he has pain in the index finger after falling on his outstretched right hand. He notes that the pain began immediately after the fall. Instability on isolated index to thumb key-pinch testing is noted. Radiographs show no obvious pathology. An injury to which of the following structures is most likely?

A ) First dorsal interosseous insertion

B ) Lateral band of the extensor hood

C ) Lumbrical insertion

D ) Radial collateral ligament

E ) Volar plate

The correct response is Option D.

Isolated injury to the radial collateral ligament of the index finger occurs with forced ulnar deviation at the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint. It can also occur in conjunction with injury to all of the structures surrounding the joint. In isolation, the findings of a complete tear of the ligament will be that of a flail joint. Attempted pinch will result in pain and ulnar deviation. These injuries are often ignored initially and progress to arthritis. Standard radiographs will not show the injury, and MRI is needed for confirmation. Isolated injury to the lumbrical will not be demonstrable on examination, while an injury to the volar plate by itself would not cause instability on key-pinch testing. Injury to the insertion tendon of the first dorsal interosseous muscle will cause a weak pinch, but the joint will not be unstable to radial pressure. Finally, the extensor mechanism does not contribute to the stability of the MCP joint.

 

56

A 34-year-old woman who is a concert pianist is brought to the emergency department because of a laceration on the volar aspect of the right index finger at the mid-proximal phalanx caused by a broken vase. Operative exploration shows complete laceration of the radial digital nerve and the profundus and superficialis tendons in the flexor tendon sheath. Which of the following is the most effective management of the flexor tendon injury?

A ) Excision of the superficialis tendon; repair of the profundus tendon; early active-motion protocol

B ) Excision of the superficialis tendon; repair of the profundus tendon; immobilization for three weeks

C ) Repair of the profundus and superficialis tendons; early passive-motion protocol

D ) Repair of the profundus and superficialis tendons; immobilization for three weeks
 

The correct response is Option C.

The most effective management is profundus and superficialis tendon repair with early passive-motion protocol. Repairing the superficialis tendon not only improves strength and function but also has been shown to increase circulation to the tendon repairs.

Many studies have shown that a direct correlation exists between the strength of the tendon repair and the number of core sutures used across the repair (strength is proportional to the number of sutures).

Many studies have shown the strength and adhesion-prevention benefits of early passive-motion protocols. Some studies have advocated early flexion active-motion protocols, but none have found the results superior to the early passive-motion protocols. One study has also shown that early passive-motion protocols do not interfere with the outcomes of primary digital nerve repairs when Zone II flexor tendon and digital nerve injuries occur simultaneously.

 

57

A 35-year-old man is brought to the emergency department four hours after sustaining an injury to the dominant right hand when he fell while skiing. He reports pain in the thumb. Examination shows swelling and no palpable mass on the ulnar aspect of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of the thumb. Application of radial stress to the joint shows 5 degrees of laxity; stress on the opposite thumb shows no laxity. Plain-film radiographs show no abnormalities. Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

(A) Arthroscopic reduction

(B) Immobilization of the thumb in a spica cast

(C) Movement and increased range of motion of the thumb as tolerated

(D) Open suture repair of the ulnar collateral ligament

(E) Percutaneous pin fixation of the joint

 

The correct response is Option B.

The patient described has sustained an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the MCP joint of his thumb. To select the appropriate therapy, the extent of the injury must be determined (ie, partial versus complete disruption of the UCL). In the patient described, 5 degrees of thumb MCP joint laxity compared to the opposite side indicates that he has sustained a partial tear of his UCL. It is generally accepted that incomplete tears may be treated successfully with immobilization; complete tears require operative treatment. A thumb spica cast provides adequate immobilization to allow healing of a partial tear of this patient €™s UCL; percutaneous pin placement to immobilize the MCP joint would be excessive. A percutaneous approach to MCP immobilization is occasionally used in conjunction with operative treatment of a complete disruption of the UCL.

 

A thumb MCP joint with greater than 30 degrees of laxity, or greater than a 15-degree differential in laxity compared to the contralateral side, demonstrates clinical evidence of a complete disruption of the UCL. With a complete tear of the UCL, a Stener lesion may result whereby the adductor aponeurosis interposes itself between the ends of the completely disrupted UCL, thus preventing ligamentous healing despite prolonged immobilization. Both open suture repair of the UCL and arthroscopic reduction without suture repair of the UCL have been described as operative treatment modalities for Stener lesions.

Excessive flexion and premature range of motion have been shown to increase the strain on the healing ligament; thus the patient €™s thumb should be immobilized. However, the splint could be fashioned to leave the interphalangeal (IP) joint free and allow active range of motion in the IP joint to prevent adherence of the extensor tendon to the injured MCP joint capsule.

 

58

A 32-year-old man who works as a carpenter comes to the office for follow-up examination seven days after sustaining a 2-cm laceration to the dorsum of the left thumb proximal to the interphalangeal joint while using a knife. In the emergency department, the laceration was sutured, and the thumb was immobilized with a splint. On physical examination, the wound is clean. No infection is noted. Weak extension of the interphalangeal joint is noted. The patient cannot extend the thumb off the tabletop. Laceration of which of the following tendons is most likely?

(A) Abductor pollicis longus

(B) Extensor carpi radialis brevis

(C) Extensor carpi radialis longus

(D) Extensor pollicis brevis

(E) Extensor pollicis longus

 

The correct response is Option E.

The patient described has an injury to the extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon, which can be difficult to diagnose in the emergency department. Often, a patient will have weak active extension at the interphalangeal joint. The thumb extensor mechanism receives fibers from the abductor pollicis brevis, adductor pollicis, the ulnar head of the flexor pollicis brevis, and the EPL. If the EPL is lacerated, there may be weak extension at the interphalangeal joint; however, the thumb cannot be actively lifted off a tabletop. The extensor pollicis brevis, abductor pollicis longus, extensor carpi radialis longus, and extensor carpi radialis brevis do not contribute to the extension of the thumb off a tabletop.

 

59

A 42-year-old man comes to the office because he has a three-month history of significantly decreased grip strength of the dominant left hand since undergoing fusion of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the long finger for traumatic arthritis of the joint. Fusion was performed with the PIP joint held in approximately 30 degrees of flexion. Radiographs show a well €‘healed fusion site. Physical examination shows a 25% decrease in grip strength of the left hand compared with the nondominant uninjured hand. Full active range of motion of the distal interphalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints of the injured finger is noted. Which of the following is the most likely cause of these findings?

(A) Disuse atrophy

(B) Extrinsic tightness

(C) Flexor tendon injury

(D) Intrinsic tightness

(E) Quadriga effect

The correct response is Option E.

A quadriga (from the Latin quadria [four] and jungere [to yoke]) is a four-horse chariot that was raced in the Olympics and other sacred games. The patient described is experiencing weakness caused by the quadriga effect imposed by the fusion of the PIP joint of the long finger.

 

PIP fusion is often well tolerated in the index finger because that finger €™s relatively independent profundus function does not impose a significant quadriga effect on the other fingers during power grasp. PIP fusion of the long finger, however, has been shown to decrease the excursion of all profundus tendons, reducing grip strength. PIP fusion restricts profundus excursion to a greater extent than distal interphalangeal (DIP) or metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint fusion. A significant decrease in grip strength occurs when the PIP joints of the index and small fingers are fixed at less than 45 degrees and when the long and ring fingers are fused in a position of less than 60 degrees of flexion. Any time there is limitation of profundus excursion in the long through small fingers, some decrease in grip strength is expected. By fusing the PIP joint, excursion of the profundus tendon within the finger is effectively limited.

Disuse atrophy would be unlikely in the patient described, as atrophy of the muscle bellies would have to occur in the forearm, which is far away from the site of injury. Extrinsic tightness would be noted in cases where MCP flexion limits PIP flexion. Intrinsic tightness would be noted if the patient was found to have inability to flex the PIP joint with MCP extension. Flexor tendon injury is unlikely if DIP joint and MCP joint motion are normal.

 

60

A 36 €‘year €‘old man comes to the office for follow-up examination four months after undergoing revision amputation at the distal interphalangeal joint of the left long finger to repair a partial traumatic amputation injury. Since undergoing the procedure, the patient has had difficulty making a fist. Physical examination shows extension of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint when the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint is actively flexed. The patient has full active and passive range of motion of the PIP joint when the MCP joint is extended. Radiographs show no abnormalities. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

(A) Dynamic flexion splinting

(B) Fusion of the PIP joint

(C) Injection of a corticosteroid into the area of the A1 pulley

(D) Surgical release of the lumbrical

(E) Tenolysis

The correct response is Option D.

The patient described has a lumbrical plus deformity. This deformity occurs following amputation when proximal migration of the profundus tendon results in contracture of the lumbrical muscle. This contracture can result in tightness of the lumbricals, which produces paradoxical extension of the PIP joint during active flexion of the MCP joint. The lumbrical muscle is a component of the intrinsic extensor mechanism, which is responsible for MCP flexion and PIP extension. The lumbrical plus deformity is treated most appropriately by division of the lumbrical tendon.

Dynamic flexion splinting is occasionally used for extension contractures of the PIP joint caused by joint stiffness. Fusion of the PIP joint is indicated for cases of arthritis. Injection of a corticosteroid is appropriate if the patient has active triggering at the level of the A1 pulley. Tenolysis is used when flexor tendon adhesions are suspected (when passive joint motion is greater than active joint motion).

61

A 25-year-old woman comes to the office for consultation regarding an injury to the left thumb (shown). During surgical repair of this injury, which of the following is the sequence in which anatomic structures will be encountered?
(A) Abductor pollicis, flexor pollicis longus, volar plate
(B) First dorsal interosseous, oblique pulley, volar plate
(C) Junctura tendineum, extensor pollicis longus, collateral ligament
(D) Sagittal bands, adductor aponeurosis, collateral ligament
(E) Skin, ulnar collateral ligament, volar plate
 

The correct response is Option D.

This patient has an ulnar collateral ligament injury of the thumb metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint. Although the indications for surgical repair are controversial, the pertinent anatomy is consistent. After the skin and subcutaneous tissue are divided, the sagittal bands are encountered. The sagittal bands stabilize the extensor pollicis longus over the MP joints of the thumb and travel from the lateral aspects of the tendon towards the flexor digital sheath. Repair of this structure is important to prevent subluxation of the tendon with thumb motion. 

The adductor for aponeurosis is readily visible under the sagittal bands. This structure should also be tagged before division to facilitate accurate surgical repair. Once the adductor aponeurosis is divided, the ulnar collateral ligament is readily visible and amenable to repair. 

The juncturae tendineum are extensor tendon connections on the dorsum of the hand and are not involved with the regional anatomy of the thumb. The extensor pollicis longus is usually dorsal to the area of dissection and does not require surgical manipulation.

The ulnar collateral ligament does not exist under the skin. The volar plate may be injured in a gamekeeper=s type of injury and should be assessed. A clue to a significant volar plate injury requiring repair is volar subluxation of the proximal phalanx in relation to the metacarpal. 

The abductor pollicis, flexor pollicis longus, and first dorsal interosseous are out of the zone of injury and should not be surgically disturbed. 
 

62


A 42-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after he sustained major injuries when he fell from a ladder. In addition to abdominal trauma, he sustained lacerations of the flexor carpi ulnaris tendons, ulnar artery, ulnar nerve, flexor digitorum profundus tendons, flexor digitorum superficialis tendons, flexor pollicis longus muscles, palmaris longus tendon, median nerve, radial artery, and flexor carpi radialis tendon of the right arm. During emergent exploratory laparotomy with general anesthesia, an upper arm tourniquet is inflated to 250 mmHg. Two hours later, when the laparotomy is completed, the tourniquet is still in place and the patient is asleep. Which of the following is the most appropriate management of the injuries to this patient=s hand?
(A) Release the tourniquet, close the skin, and repair the severed structures electively
(B) Release the tourniquet and repair the severed structures immediately
(C) Leave the tourniquet in place and repair the severed structures immediately
(D) Release the tourniquet for five minutes, reinflate the tourniquet, and repair the severed structures
(E) Release the tourniquet for 20 minutes, reinflate the tourniquet, and repair the severed structures
 

The correct response is Option E.

Difficult situations such as these often arise, especially in patients who have sustained multiple traumas. This patient has had a delay in the care of a cold hand because of a limb-threatening injury. Because of the threatened limb, closing the skin and performing the repairs on another day is not an option. Continuation of the tourniquet would be dangerous to this patient; the upper limit of time for tourniquet use in the upper extremity is most frequently defined as two hours, after which muscle and nerve damage begins. Performing the surgery without tourniquet control is an option but is not the best option in a true spaghetti-like wrist, for which a bloodless field is best for meticulous preparation and identification of structures. Of the options listed, the best choice is to release the tourniquet for 20 minutes (5 minutes for every 30 minutes the tourniquet was in use) and to finish the case immediately. Release of the tourniquet for only five minutes is not adequate after two hours of tourniquet use. Indeed, revascularization of the hand with closure of the wound, opting to finish the case on another day is an option, but was not offered as a choice for this item.
References

63

A 28-year-old woman comes to the office for follow-up examination after six weeks of splinting to correct a closed injury without fracture of the right index finger. Despite instructions to wear the splint at all times, the patient says she has been taking it off when she showers and when she types at work because it gets in the way. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?
(A) Splinting for an additional six weeks
(B) Transarticular fixation with Kirschner wires
(C) Central slip tenotomy
(D) Open repair with direct suturing of the terminal tendon
(E) Fusion of the distal interphalangeal joint
 

The correct response is Option B.

This patient has a mallet finger deformity. No fracture was involved; therefore, it is considered a Type I mallet injury. Patients are sometimes noncompliant or not well instructed regarding how the splint is to be used. Both the Fowler tenotomy and open repair should be reserved for chronic cases of mallet finger. In fact, open repair with direct suture of the terminal tendon has shown poor results. Fusion of the distal interphalangeal joint is an extreme method of treating this condition and would not be indicated at this time. An additional six-week period of splinting would be appropriate in a compliant patient. One author has shown that mallet fingers that remain untreated for up to 12 weeks can be treated conservatively with six weeks of splinting. However, a noncompliant patient would benefit from transarticular fixation with Kirschner wires, which would be more difficult to manipulate versus splinting alone.

64

A 53-year-old man comes to the office for evaluation of a flexion contracture at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the left long finger three months after he sustained a volar dislocation. Immobilization immediately after the injury and a subsequent trial of aggressive hand therapy were unsuccessful in restoring passive extension of the joint. On physical examination, the PIP joint is in 40 degrees of flexion and cannot be passively extended. Surgical release of the PIP joint is performed with release of the checkrein ligaments and tenolysis of the flexor tendons. Postoperative examination shows a mild flexion deformity of the PIP joint and slight hyperextension of the distal interphalangeal joint. Which of following is the most likely cause of these findings?
(A) Adhesions of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon
(B) Adhesions of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon
(C) Inadequate release of the checkrein ligaments
(D) Laxity of the extensor tendon
(E) Tightness of the ligament of Landsmeer

The correct response is Option E.

The oblique retinacular ligament of Landsmeer passes volar to the axis of rotation of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, and when it is involved in a fibrotic process, it may produce hyperextension of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Tightness of this ligament can result in contractural deformity resulting in a boutonnière deformity. Inadequate checkrein release would result in persistent flexion deformity at the PIP joint but would not impact the position of the DIP joint. Scar adhesions of the flexor tendons would limit active range of motion of the digit but would not create a hyperextension deformity at the DIP joint. Extensor tendon laxity would limit active extension at the DIP joint, creating a flexion deformity rather than a hyperextension deformity.

65

A 25-year-old woman comes to the office for consultation regarding an injury to the left thumb (shown). During surgical repair of this injury, which of the following is the sequence in which anatomic structures will be encountered?
(A) Abductor pollicis, flexor pollicis longus, volar plate
(B) First dorsal interosseous, oblique pulley, volar plate
(C) Junctura tendineum, extensor pollicis longus, collateral ligament
(D) Sagittal bands, adductor aponeurosis, collateral ligament
(E) Skin, ulnar collateral ligament, volar plate

 

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option D.

This patient has an ulnar collateral ligament injury of the thumb metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint. Although the indications for surgical repair are controversial, the pertinent anatomy is consistent. After the skin and subcutaneous tissue are divided, the sagittal bands are encountered. The sagittal bands stabilize the extensor pollicis longus over the MP joints of the thumb and travel from the lateral aspects of the tendon towards the flexor digital sheath. Repair of this structure is important to prevent subluxation of the tendon with thumb motion. 

The adductor for aponeurosis is readily visible under the sagittal bands. This structure should also be tagged before division to facilitate accurate surgical repair. Once the adductor aponeurosis is divided, the ulnar collateral ligament is readily visible and amenable to repair. 

The juncturae tendineum are extensor tendon connections on the dorsum of the hand and are not involved with the regional anatomy of the thumb. The extensor pollicis longus is usually dorsal to the area of dissection and does not require surgical manipulation.

The ulnar collateral ligament does not exist under the skin. The volar plate may be injured in a gamekeeper=s type of injury and should be assessed. A clue to a significant volar plate injury requiring repair is volar subluxation of the proximal phalanx in relation to the metacarpal. 

The abductor pollicis, flexor pollicis longus, and first dorsal interosseous are out of the zone of injury and should not be surgically disturbed.

66

A 42-year-old man is brought to the emergency department after he sustained major injuries when he fell from a ladder. In addition to abdominal trauma, he sustained lacerations of the flexor carpi ulnaris tendons, ulnar artery, ulnar nerve, flexor digitorum profundus tendons, flexor digitorum superficialis tendons, flexor pollicis longus muscles, palmaris longus tendon, median nerve, radial artery, and flexor carpi radialis tendon of the right arm. During emergent exploratory laparotomy with general anesthesia, an upper arm tourniquet is inflated to 250 mmHg. Two hours later, when the laparotomy is completed, the tourniquet is still in place and the patient is asleep. Which of the following is the most appropriate management of the injuries to this patient=s hand?
(A) Release the tourniquet, close the skin, and repair the severed structures electively
(B) Release the tourniquet and repair the severed structures immediately
(C) Leave the tourniquet in place and repair the severed structures immediately
(D) Release the tourniquet for five minutes, reinflate the tourniquet, and repair the severed structures
(E) Release the tourniquet for 20 minutes, reinflate the tourniquet, and repair the severed structures
 

The correct response is Option E.

Difficult situations such as these often arise, especially in patients who have sustained multiple traumas. This patient has had a delay in the care of a cold hand because of a limb-threatening injury. Because of the threatened limb, closing the skin and performing the repairs on another day is not an option. Continuation of the tourniquet would be dangerous to this patient; the upper limit of time for tourniquet use in the upper extremity is most frequently defined as two hours, after which muscle and nerve damage begins. Performing the surgery without tourniquet control is an option but is not the best option in a true spaghetti-like wrist, for which a bloodless field is best for meticulous preparation and identification of structures. Of the options listed, the best choice is to release the tourniquet for 20 minutes (5 minutes for every 30 minutes the tourniquet was in use) and to finish the case immediately. Release of the tourniquet for only five minutes is not adequate after two hours of tourniquet use. Indeed, revascularization of the hand with closure of the wound, opting to finish the case on another day is an option, but was not offered as a choice for this item.

67

A 28-year-old woman comes to the office for follow-up examination after six weeks of splinting to correct a closed injury without fracture of the right index finger (shown). Despite instructions to wear the splint at all times, the patient says she has been taking it off when she showers and when she types at work because it gets in the way. Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?
(A) Splinting for an additional six weeks
(B) Transarticular fixation with Kirschner wires
(C) Central slip tenotomy
(D) Open repair with direct suturing of the terminal tendon
(E) Fusion of the distal interphalangeal joint

Q image thumb


The correct response is Option B.

This patient has a mallet finger deformity. No fracture was involved; therefore, it is considered a Type I mallet injury. Patients are sometimes noncompliant or not well instructed regarding how the splint is to be used. Both the Fowler tenotomy and open repair should be reserved for chronic cases of mallet finger. In fact, open repair with direct suture of the terminal tendon has shown poor results. Fusion of the distal interphalangeal joint is an extreme method of treating this condition and would not be indicated at this time. An additional six-week period of splinting would be appropriate in a compliant patient. One author has shown that mallet fingers that remain untreated for up to 12 weeks can be treated conservatively with six weeks of splinting. However, a noncompliant patient would benefit from transarticular fixation with Kirschner wires, which would be more difficult to manipulate versus splinting alone.
 

68

A 53-year-old man comes to the office for evaluation of a flexion contracture at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the left long finger three months after he sustained a volar dislocation. Immobilization immediately after the injury and a subsequent trial of aggressive hand therapy were unsuccessful in restoring passive extension of the joint. On physical examination, the PIP joint is in 40 degrees of flexion and cannot be passively extended. Surgical release of the PIP joint is performed with release of the checkrein ligaments and tenolysis of the flexor tendons. Postoperative examination shows a mild flexion deformity of the PIP joint and slight hyperextension of the distal interphalangeal joint. Which of following is the most likely cause of these findings?
(A) Adhesions of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon
(B) Adhesions of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon
(C) Inadequate release of the checkrein ligaments
(D) Laxity of the extensor tendon
(E) Tightness of the ligament of Landsmeer

 

The correct response is Option E.

The oblique retinacular ligament of Landsmeer passes volar to the axis of rotation of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, and when it is involved in a fibrotic process, it may produce hyperextension of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Tightness of this ligament can result in contractural deformity resulting in a boutonnière deformity. Inadequate checkrein release would result in persistent flexion deformity at the PIP joint but would not impact the position of the DIP joint. Scar adhesions of the flexor tendons would limit active range of motion of the digit but would not create a hyperextension deformity at the DIP joint. Extensor tendon laxity would limit active extension at the DIP joint, creating a flexion deformity rather than a hyperextension deformity.
 

69

A 4-year-old girl has a fixed flexion deformity of the thumb of the dominant right hand as well as a palpable nodule at the volar metacarpophalangeal joint that has been present since birth. Which of the following interventions is the most appropriate initial step?

(A) A1 pulley release
(B) Aspiration of the mass 
(C) Biopsy of the nodule
(D) Injection of cortisone into the mass
(E) Transfer of the extensor indicis proprius tendon to the extensor pollicis longus tendon
 

The correct response is Option A.


The first step in management of this deformity is A1 pulley release. The patient has a congenital trigger thumb, the most common cause of congenital thumb flexion deformity. The flexed position of the thumb can also be seen in patients with congenital clasped thumb, absent or aberrant extensor tendons, arthrogryposis, and spasticity. Patients with congenital trigger thumb commonly have thickening of the tendon, referred to as “Notta’s node.” In patients younger than age 3 years, the spontaneous resolution rate is 30%. Splinting and observation are options when the condition is diagnosed early, but most patients require surgery. During release of the pulley, no attempt is made to excise or reduce the nodule in the tendon. Aspiration is not appropriate for the nodule in the flexor tendon. 

Aspiration can be used to manage retinacular cysts, which are ganglion cysts on the tendon sheath seen at the volar metacarpophalangeal joint, but patients with such cysts do not have flexion deformity. Biopsy is not necessary for Notta’s node, which is a pathologic thickening of the flexor sheath. Such pathologic changes in the flexor tendon are more common in children than in adults, who more commonly have involvement of the tendon sheath. 

Trigger digit injection is into the flexor sheath and not the mass. Risk of rupture is higher with direct injection into the mass. Injecting a child would require at least monitored deep sedation if not general anesthesia. Tendon transfer is appropriate for treatment in patients with absent or aberrant thumb extensor tendons.
 

70

A 16-year-old football player sustains an injury to the right ring finger when he tries to tackle another player during a game. On the sideline, physical examination shows tenderness along the proximal interphalangeal and distal interphalangeal joints and inability to flex the distal phalanx. Radiographs show no abnormalities. The most likely diagnosis is avulsion of which of the following?

(A) Flexor digitorum profundus tendon in Zone I
(B) Flexor digitorum profundus tendon in Zone II 
(C) Flexor digitorum superficialis tendon in Zone I
(D) Flexor digitorum superficialis tendon in Zone II
(E) One slip of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon in Zone II

The correct response is Option A.

This patient has sustained a “jersey finger” injury. The digital cascade is disrupted because there is no flexion force at the distal phalanx of the ring finger. In this patient, the flexor digitorum profundus tendon became avulsed from the distal phalanx (Zone I) when the patient attempted to actively flex the distal interphalangeal joint with the finger in forced extension. Three types of avulsion injuries to the flexor digitorum profundus tendon have been described:

Type I: The flexor digitorum profundus tendon retracts into the palm
Type II: The flexor digitorum profundus tendon retracts to the proximal interphalangeal joint
Type III: The flexor digitorum profundus tendon is entrapped at the A4 pulley

The patient is still able to flex the proximal interphalangeal joint, but the joint may be tender if there is blood in the flexor sheath or if he has sustained a Type II injury. The distal phalanx is drawn into extension because of the unopposed pull of the terminal tendon.

Rupture of one slip of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon would not result in loss of function of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon or flexion of the distal interphalangeal joint.

71


A 27-year-old woman has pain and instability on radial-directed stress in the right thumb eight months after sustaining an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament. Initial management of the injury consisted of thumb spica casting for six weeks. In this patient, which of the following anatomic structures is most likely interposed between the ulnar collateral ligament and the proximal phalanx?

(A) Abductor tendon 
(B) Adductor aponeurosis
(C) First dorsal interosseous muscle
(D) Flexor pollicis longus
(E) Joint capsule
 

The correct response is Option B.

This patient has a classic Stener lesion, in which the adductor aponeurosis becomes interposed between the ruptured ulnar collateral ligament and the base of the proximal phalanx. This lesion cannot heal spontaneously because reattachment of the ulnar collateral ligament to the proximal phalanx is blocked by the interposed tendon. It is important to identify this condition at the time of the initial injury so that operative repair can be performed without delay. Without surgical correction, the patient will have painful instability to radial stress of the metacarpophalangeal joint. The abductor tendon, the first dorsal interosseous muscle, and the flexor pollicis longus are not involved because they are not in the vicinity of the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb. Tearing of the joint capsule is a potential complication of a Stener lesion, and an unrepaired capsular tear can be associated with relative supination of the proximal phalanx in relation to the metacarpal. Although the joint capsule should always be inspected, and repaired if necessary, at the time of ligament repair, it is not involved with blocking of the ulnar collateral ligament. In this injury, only the adductor aponeurosis becomes interposed between the ulnar collateral ligament and the proximal phalanx.

72

A 12-year-old boy with spastic cerebral palsy and moderate mental retardation is undergoing evaluation of hand function. On physical examination, the arms are held in a reducible posture, with the elbows flexed, the forearms pronated, and the wrists flexed. The ulnar digits are flexed tightly in the palm, and the thumb is held against the index and long fingers. There is ulnar palmar maceration and wounding. Moving two-point discrimination is 12 to 14 mm bilaterally. 

Which of the following tendon transfers is most appropriate?

(A) Flexor carpi ulnaris to extensor carpi radialis brevis
(B) Flexor carpi ulnaris to flexor digitorum profundus
(C) Flexor digitorum profundus to extensor digitorum communis
(D) Flexor digitorum superficialis to flexor digitorum profundus
(E) Pronator teres to extensor carpi radialis longus

 

The correct response is Option D.

Patients with cerebral palsy typically have cognitive, developmental, and sensory deficits that affect motor function. Cerebral palsy can be characterized as spastic, with fluctuations in muscle tone, or as a motion disorder, involving ataxia, dyskinesia, and tremors. Although improvement is difficult to achieve in those affected by motion disorders, some children with spastic cerebral palsy have enhanced hand function following surgery.

Important elements included in the preoperative testing of patients with cerebral palsy are evaluation of cognition, hand placement, and sensibility. In patients who fail to meet the minimum criteria in these areas, the primary goal of surgery is improvement of hygiene and not necessarily of hand function.

Cognition is determined by intelligence quotient (IQ) testing; children can be classified as normal (within a standard deviation of the norm), educable (IQ of 50 to 70), and trainable (IQ of 30 to 50).

Hand placement is measured by asking the child to place one hand on the head initially and then on the opposite knee. This maneuver tests range of motion, precision of placement, and time required to complete the task. Typically, only those children who can perform this task within five seconds can be expected to benefit from surgery.

Sensibility testing varies according to the age of the child. Texture discrimination is the recommended test for children 2 to 3 years of age; object identification is appropriate for those from 4 to 5 years of age, and graphesthesia is tested in children ages 6 to 9 years. In children older than 9 years, sensibility is tested by measuring moving two-point discrimination. Functional improvement following surgery can only be expected in those children who can successfully discriminate texture, identify objects, or exhibit graphesthesia, or those who have moving two-point discrimination of less than 10 mm.

Because this 12-year-old boy with spastic cerebral palsy has both poor cognition and sensibility, improvement of hygiene will be the primary goal of any surgical procedure. Therefore, transfer of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon to the flexor digitorum profundus tendon is recommended to eliminate the clenched fist deformity and relieve the maceration and disintegration of skin that is typically associated with this deformity. This tendon transfer lengthens yet weakens the finger flexors.

Transferring the flexor carpi ulnaris to the flexor digitorum profundus will only increase the flexion force and aggravate the deformity. Transfer of the flexor digitorum profundus to the extensor digitorum communis will not resolve the clenched fingers. In patients who have a deformity of this severity, arthrodesis of the wrist is recommended instead of tendon transfers to the wrist extensors.

73

An 18-year-old college student sustains an injury to the nondominant small finger when he falls while playing flag football. On physical examination, the finger is swollen slightly and held in a flexed position. Active flexion and extension of the finger are limited by pain. A radiograph is shown above. Closed reduction of the finger in the emergency department is unsuccessful.

The most likely cause is interposition of which of the following structures within the joint?

(A) Extensor tendon
(B) Flexor tendon
(C) Joint capsule
(D) Neurovascular bundle
(E) Volar plate

Q image thumb

The correct response is Option A.

This 18-year-old college student has sustained a volar dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, an injury so named because the middle phalanx is dislocated volar to the proximal phalanx. In volar dislocations, which are far less common than dorsal dislocations, the extensor tendon is torn by the distal condyle of the proximal phalanx, as shown in the intraoperative photograph above. If the condyle has pushed through the extensor tendon, the tendon may tighten and act as a sling to prevent reduction of the dislocation.

Although some physicians may be able to perform closed reduction, operative exploration and repair are recommended because of the possible injury to the extensor tendon. Unsuccessful closed reduction is an absolute indication for operative exploration, as repeat attempts at manipulation will only worsen edema and may contribute to injury. In addition, volar dislocations can be associated with complete avulsion of the central slip, requiring repair.

Although the flexor tendons and volar plate can become interposed within the joint and interfere with closed reduction, this is a rare finding in patients with volar dislocations and is more likely to be associated with irreducible dorsal dislocations. The joint capsule and neurovascular bundle are not involved in volar dislocations of the PIP joint.

A image thumb
74

Repair of flexor tendon injuries in which of the following zones is most commonly associated with a good prognosis?

(A) Zone 1
(B) Zone 2
(C) Zone 3
(D) Zone 4
(E) Zone 5

The correct response is Option E.

Flexor tendon injuries in zone 5 have the best prognosis following repair. This zone, one of five in the flexor tendon system, lies proximal to the carpal tunnel. The generous space found proximal to the wrist allows for better tendon gliding following repair.

In contrast, zone 2 is an especially tight region that contains both flexor tendons within the fibro-osseous tunnel. There is an increased risk for development of adhesions when flexor tendons are repaired in this zone.

Repair of flexor tendon injuries in zones 1, 3, and 4 typically results in intermediate outcomes because of tendon vascularity and gliding potential in these zones.

75

One year after sustaining severe burns to the dorsal aspect of the left hand, a 48-year-old woman is unable to flex the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints of the left hand during maximal flexion of the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joints. She underwent operative release of contractures and full-thickness skin grafting over the MP joints nine months ago. Physical examination shows full extension and flexion of the MP joints. She is able to flex the PIP joints approximately 30 degrees with the MP joints fully extended. Radiographs of the hand show no arthritic or pathologic changes in the MP and PIP joints.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

(A) Intratendinous lengthening
(B) Release of the central slips
(C) Release of the check rein ligaments
(D) Release of the lateral bands
(E) Split-thickness skin grafting

 


The correct response is Option B.

The most appropriate management of the extensor tendon tightness seen in this patient is release of the central slips. Central slip releases can be performed under local anesthesia to immediately improve flexion of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. This simple maneuver may eliminate the need for extensive soft-tissue reconstruction as long as the scar and tendon contractures are located on the dorsal aspect of the hand and the lateral bands, which supply extensor power to the PIP and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints, are intact. The risk for subluxation of the intact lateral bands and subsequent development of a boutonierre deformity is minimal.

Intratendinous lengthening is performed in patients who have contractures of the extrinsic flexor tendons resulting from cerebral palsy or stroke. Because the metacarpophalangeal (MP), PIP, and DIP joints can all be affected, this technique is primarily recommended to improve the appearance of the hand.
Patients who have intrinsic tendon tightness that does not improve with therapy may be considered for release of the lateral bands. In this condition, which is often a sequela of compartment syndrome, the intrinsic tendons of the hand are foreshortened, and flexion of the PIP joint is inhibited when the MP joints are fully extended.

Although the scar contractures can be released to relieve some of the stiffness in the PIP joints, the affected area should be covered with full-thickness skin grafts (instead of split-thickness grafts) because they provide superior skin quality and decrease the risk for secondary contractures.

 

76

Three months after sustaining an amputation of the index finger at the level of the distal interphalangeal joint, a 37-year-old man has extension of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint on attempted flexion of the finger. Which of the following is the most appropriate management at this time?

(A) Division of the central slip of the extensor tendon
(B) Division of the lumbrical tendon
(C) Division of the superficialis tendon insertion
(D) Release of the A1 pulley
(E) Amputation at the level of the PIP joint

The correct response is Option B.

The most appropriate management at this time is division of the lumbrical tendon. This patient has a lumbrical-plus deformity, which occurs following sectioning of the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon. In patients with this deformity, the independent FDP tendon and lumbrical muscle migrate proximally. With flexion, tension is exerted by the lumbrical via the radial lateral band. During attempted flexion of the digit, this tension transmitted through the radial lateral band results in paradoxical extension of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Division of the lumbrical insertion or resection of the lumbrical tendon will restore balanced finger flexion. Therefore, in a patient who has the acute onset of significant intrinsic tightness, the radial lateral band should be released or the lumbrical tendon should be resected.

The lumbrical tendons originate from the FDP tendon and insert into the radial lateral band. These tendons pass palmar to the deep transverse intermetacarpal ligament.

Division of the central slip of the extensor tendon will result in a permanent flexion deformity of the PIP joint. Division of the superficialis tendon will further weaken index finger flexion. Release of the A1 pulley is appropriate for management of flexor tenosynovitis or trigger finger in a patient who does not have rheumatoid arthritis. Although amputation at the level of the PIP joint would preclude joint hyperextension, this is an extreme measure that does not address the insertion of the lumbrical tendon.

 

77

A 20-year-old woman has pain, swelling, and tenderness of the right wrist after washing cars for eight hours. There is no history of trauma. On physical examination, tenderness and crepitus are noted 4 cm proximal to the wrist, over the distal radial forearm. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

(A) Carpometacarpal joint arthritis
(B) de Quervain tenosynovitis
(C) Intersection syndrome
(D) Scapholunate ligament injury
(E) Wartenberg syndrome

The correct response is Option C.

This patient has findings consistent with intersection syndrome, or tenosynovitis of the second dorsal compartment that involves the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis tendons at their intersection near the first extensor compartment. Patients have pain and swelling approximately 4 cm proximal to the wrist, at the point where the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus tendons cross the common radial wrist extensors. Erythema and crepitus are also associated. Symptoms are exacerbated with prolonged wrist motion. Appropriate management includes splinting of the wrist in extension and injection of a corticosteroid. Surgical procedures, such as release of the second dorsal compartment and/or synovectomy at the intersection point, may be required in those patients whose symptoms do not improve with conservative measures.

Patients with carpometacarpal joint arthritis have pain at the base of the metacarpal of the thumb. Pain is reproduced on a carpometacarpal grind test or axial compression test.

De Quervain tenosynovitis is stenosing tenosynovitis of the first dorsal compartment; the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus tendons are affected. This condition is characterized by localized pain, swelling, and tenderness 1 to 2 cm proximal to the radial styloid. Affected patients have pain on ulnar deviation of the wrist with the thumb clasped in the palm (Finkelstein test).

Scapholunate ligament injuries are rare in patients who have no history of trauma. In these patients, pain is commonly elicited over the scapholunate interval. Scapholunate instability may also be present. Radiographs may show an increased scapholunate interval.

In Wartenberg syndrome, the superficial sensory branch of the radial nerve is entrapped between the brachioradialis and extensor carpi radialis longus tendons. Pain, numbness, and tingling at the dorsoradial aspect of the wrist are characteristic, and symptoms are often exacerbated when the patient wears compressive jewelry, such as a wristwatch.

 

78

Five weeks after undergoing primary repair of an injury to the flexor digitorum profundus tendon of the ring finger in zone II, a 33-year-old man suddenly loses the ability to flex the distal interphalangeal joint of the ring finger. A controlled trial of early motion was initiated following surgery. 

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

(A) Continued occupational therapy
(B) Repeat operative exploration and repair
(C) Insertion of a silicone rod
(D) Tenolysis
(E) Arthrodesis


 


The correct response is Option B.

The most appropriate next step in management is repeat operative exploration and repair. This patient has most likely ruptured the flexor tendon. This typically occurs four to six weeks after initial repair and is most commonly caused by excessive grip force or significant devascularization of the tendon.

Further occupational therapy is not necessary in a patient who has good passive range of motion following rupture. 
Staged reconstruction with insertion of a silicone rod and/or delayed tendon grafting is appropriate following tendon rupture if passive range of motion of the finger is significantly limited or there is an insufficient quantity of flexor tendon sheath.

Tenolysis is indicated in patients who have tendon adherence or scarring following tendon repair. This procedure is typically delayed for four to six months following the initial repair, and is most effect if the repair is intact and full passive range of motion is maintained.

Arthrodesis may be considered if the flexor tendons and flexor sheath cannot be repaired or reconstructed. This procedure provides stability but results in slightly flexed positioning of the finger.

 

79

A 3-year-old girl is brought by her parents for evaluation because she cannot straighten her left thumb. Her parents have observed intermittent episodes of catching or locking of the thumb since her birth. On physical examination, the thumb cannot be passively extended. A nodule is palpable over the flexor pollicis longus tendon.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

(A) Observation for one year
(B) Extension splinting for six months
(C) Injection of a corticosteroid into the tendon sheath
(D) Operative release of the A1 pulley
(E) Reconstruction of the extensor pollicis longus tendon

The correct response is Option D.

In this child who has a fixed flexion deformity of the thumb, most likely resulting from congenital triggering, the most appropriate management is operative release of the A1 pulley. Trigger thumb is an isolated congenital deformity that is thought to occur in 0.05% of live births; 25% to 33% of patients have bilateral findings. This condition is caused by a proliferation of synovial fluid within the tendon. Because the thumb is often minimally flexed in infants, the deformity is not typically diagnosed until age 6 months.

Studies have shown that approximately 30% of children with congenital trigger thumb will experience spontaneous resolution of the deformity by age 3 years. However, because there have been no signs of improvement of the deformity in this 3-year-old girl, simple release of the A1 pulley is indicated.

Congenital clasp thumb can produce findings similar to congenital triggering. In children with the clasp thumb deformity, there is absence of the extensor pollicis brevis and/or extensor pollicis longus tendons. This deformity is characterized by extreme flexion of the metacarpophalangeal joint and adduction of the thumb into the palm.

Conservative treatment can be ineffective in children younger than 3 years. Splinting is often impractical for compliance reasons, and injection of a corticosteroid is difficult in a 3-year-old child. Excision of a tendon nodule is recommended only to improve recurrent triggering.

 

80

A 27-year-old man has a palpable mass on the ulnar aspect of the metacarpal head after falling on his outstretched left thumb. Physical examination shows an additional 45 degrees of laxity of the ulnar collateral ligament of the left thumb when compared with the right thumb.

Operative exploration is most likely to show interposition of which of the following structures between the ends of the collateral ligament?

(A) Abductor pollicis brevis
(B) Abductor pollicis longus
(C) Adductor pollicis
(D) Flexor pollicis brevis
(E) Opponens pollicis

 

The correct response is Option C.

The palpable mass on the ulnar aspect of the metacarpal head is a Stener lesion, which is formed by interposition of the fascia of the adductor pollicis between the torn ulnar collateral ligament and the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint. The proximal stump of the ulnar collateral ligament lies superficial and proximal to the fascia of the adductor pollicis. Interposition of the adductor pollicis prevents healing of the ligament. Operative repair is indicated in patients with Stener lesions.

The abductor pollicis brevis and flexor pollicis brevis insert into the radial side of the MP joint, and the opponens pollicis inserts into the radial side of the metacarpal shaft. The abductor pollicis longus is not involved with the MP joint.

 

81

A 40-year-old surgeon sustains a laceration of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon of the small finger in zone II. Operative repair includes use of a six-strand core with epitendinous sutures. Which of the following is the most effective program to achieve maximum active motion of the finger?

(A) Immediate free activity
(B) Immediate early active flexion
(C) Immediate passive flexion-active extension
(D) Late passive flexion-active extension
(E) Late active flexion

 

The correct response is Option B.

In patients with zone II flexor tendon injuries, outcome is most dependent on the repair technique and rehabilitation protocol used. Suture techniques that employ locking loops or multiple strands have been shown to be stronger and to provide a better, longer lasting repair than the standard, two-strand modified Kessler technique. Compliance is critical to successful rehabilitation. In general, an immediate, graded early active flexion program has been shown to result in greater total active motion than early passive flexion and/or late motion programs. Repair techniques that use increased strength, combined with a more detailed early, graded active flexion program, have been shown to optimize active flexion while minimizing tendon rupture. In addition, a history of smoking has been shown to correlate with poorer outcomes regardless of the method of rehabilitation.

 

82

A 30-year-old man has a flexion deformity of the left long finger eight weeks after sustaining a router injury to the finger. The flexor digitorum profundus tendon was repaired at the time of injury. On current examination, the patient has weakness of all fingers of the left hand and limited flexion of the ring and small fingers.

Which of the following is the most likely cause of the current findings?

(A) Adhesions of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon
(B) Lumbrical plus deformity
(C) Quadriga effect
(D) Rupture of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon
(E) Triggering of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon

The correct response is Option C.

This patient's deformity is most likely caused by the quadriga effect, which occurs as a result of excess distal pull on one profundus tendon. Because the flexor profundus tendons share a common muscle belly, any excess pull on one tendon will decrease the force and amplitude of all of the tendons. Quadriga can occur secondary to amputations in which the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon is attached to the extensor tendon or following grafting of excessively short tendons or advancement of the FDP tendon in patients with zone I injuries.

Flexor tendon adhesions can occur following injury or prolonged immobilization. Decreased flexion of the affected digit only is a characteristic finding.

Lumbrical plus deformity most frequently affects the index finger, which has an independent FDP tendon. Division of the distal tendon results in proximal migration of the tendon and lumbrical muscle, exacerbating tension on the lateral bands. This tension results in paradoxical extension of the proximal interphalangeal joint with attempted finger flexion.

A patient with a tendon rupture would be unable to flex the long finger; the other fingers would not be affected.

Triggering of the FDP tendon may be seen following tendon repair because of the excess bulk created as a result of the repair; this appears to interfere with the pulley system. Affected patients would have decreased motion of the long finger without any effect on the other fingers.

 

83

A 35-year-old man has a 10-degree extensor lag at the proximal interphalangeal joint of the right index finger three months after undergoing flexor tendon repair in zone II. On examination, active motion of the finger is as follows: 

Metacarpophalangeal joint - 80 degrees
Proximal interphalangeal joint - 60 degrees
Distal interphalangeal joint - 20 degrees 

What is the total active range of motion of the index finger in this patient?

(A) 130 Degrees
(B) 140 Degrees
(C) 150 Degrees
(D) 160 Degrees
(E) 170 Degrees

 


The correct response is Option C.

The total active range of motion of the index finger in this patient is 150 degrees. Total active motion (TAM), which is used to measure range of motion of the fingers, is the sum total of active motion of the metacarpophalangeal (MP), proximal interphalangeal (PIP), and distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints, subtracting any extension deficit of the joints. The range of motion of the MP joint (80 degrees), PIP joint (60 degrees), and DIP joint (20 degrees) is 160 degrees; the 10-degree extensor lag is then subtracted for a TAM of 150 degrees.

A person with normal TAM would have 90 degrees of motion in the MP joint, 110 degrees in the PIP joint, and 70 degrees in the DIP joint for a total of 270 degrees.

 

84

A 17-year-old high school football player is unable to extend the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint of the ring finger two weeks after jamming the finger during a football game. Current physical examination shows hyperextension of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint with flexion of the PIP joint. There is full passive range of motion of the finger. Radiographs are unremarkable.

Which of the following is the most appropriate initial management?

(A) Extension splinting of the DIP joint
(B) Extension splinting of the PIP joint
(C) Extension splinting of the DIP and PIP joints
(D) Closed reduction and percutaneous pin fixation of the PIP joint
(E) Open repair of the central slip

 

The correct response is Option B.

This patient has a boutonniere deformity, which results from disruption of the central slip of the extensor tendon at the PIP joint with concomitant volar migration of the lateral bands. This volar migration may not be seen until 10 to 21 days after injury. Patients with boutonniere deformities have persistent flexion of the PIP joint resulting from loss of the central slip and the unopposed forces of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon. The transverse retinacular ligaments become stretched, and the volarly migrated lateral bands exert direct pull on the DIP joint. This leads to the characteristic findings of hypertension of the DIP joint and worsening flexion of the PIP joint.

The most appropriate management is splinting of the PIP joint in extension; this can be performed successfully as late as six weeks after initial injury. The DIP joint should be left unencumbered to allow motion, which will result in dorsal migration of the lateral bands and reestablish the normal relationship of the tendinous structures within the finger.

 

85

A 40-year-old man has a dark purple "cobblestone" lesion covering the entire right cheek. This finding is most consistent with

(A) an arteriovenous malformation
(B) a capillary malformation
(C) a hemangioma
(D) a lymphatic malformation
(E) a venous malformation

 

The correct response is Option B.

This 40-year-old man has a capillary malformation, or port-wine stain. These lesions are often seen in the distribution of the abducens (VI) and facial (VII) nerves. If left untreated, cobblestoning and progressive darkening may occur due to ectasia of the vessels within the capillary malformation.

An arteriovenous malformation is a high-flow lesion often characterized by a palpable thrill or bruit. Compression of the lesion results in occlusion of the associated arteriovenous fistula, causing a baroreceptor response and an increase in blood pressure. This leads to a decrease in heart rate and is known as the Branham sign.

Hemangiomas are vascular tumors that appear just after birth and rapidly enlarge during the first year of life. Because spontaneous regression is common, conservative management is suggested for non-life-threatening lesions that do not obstruct the airway or visual axis.

Lymphatic malformations, also known as cystic hygromas, occur most frequently in the head and neck region and often enlarge in response to an adjacent infection. Recurrent swelling can lead to scarring, which will significantly decrease the size of the lesion.

Venous malformations are low-flow lesions composed of dilated venous channels. These lesions are compressible and have a propensity to fill with blood when the patient changes body positions. When the malformation is associated with thrombosis, pain may result.

86

A 25-year-old man sustains a complete transverse laceration of the extensor pollicis longus tendon of the dominant right thumb. The tendon is surgically repaired and the hand is splinted; occupational therapy is started three weeks later. Two months after surgery, the patient has pain, slight swelling, and discoloration at the level of the interphalangeal joint; a photograph and MRI are shown above.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

(A) Decortication
(B) Neurectomy
(C) Neuroplasty
(D) Tendon repair
(E) Tenolysis

 

The correct response is Option A.

Patients who have pain disproportionate to the level of injury should be evaluated to exclude a potential diagnosis of osteomyelitis, which in those without open fractures can result from local infection or hematogenous spread. In this patient, the MRI shows an abnormal signal in the proximal phalanx, which is consistent with osteomyelitis. Indium-111-labeled leukocyte scanning can also be used to confirm the diagnosis. Although Staphylococcus aureus is the most likely causal organism, Mycobacterium marinum and anaerobic organisms can also be associated. In cases such as this one, appropriate management includes surgical exploration, decortication to decompress the infected bone, and removal of all involved bone. Antibiotics should be administered intravenously following this procedure, and bone grafting should be performed at a later date. Photographs of the decortication procedure are shown above.

Neurectomy is used for repair of neuromas, which manifest as a localized positive Tinel's sign, while neuroplasty would be the procedure of choice in a patient who has an entrapped nerve. Tendon repair is not required because the previous repair is still intact, as shown in the photograph and MRI. Tenolysis will improve the limited tendon excursion seen in patients who have tendon adhesions or scarring.

 

87

A 30-year-old man is undergoing evaluation one week after sustaining a sharp laceration over the dorsal metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint of the thumb from a razor knife. At the time of injury, the wound was cleansed in the emergency department and primary closure was performed. On current physical examination, he cannot extend the interphalangeal joint of the thumb.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

(A) Control of edema
(B) Removal of the sutures
(C) Sensory re-education of the thumb
(D) Repair of the extensor pollicis longus tendon
(E) Arthrodesis of the MP joint

The correct response is Option D.

In this patient who has a functional deficit involving the interphalangeal (IP) joint of the thumb after sustaining a zone V laceration of the extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon, repair of the tendon will provide the best functional outcome. The EPL tendon facilitates hyperextension of the IP joint of the thumb, which is no longer possible in this patient. In contrast, the mechanism of action of the intrinsic muscles, via their contributions to the extensor tendon mechanism, allows the patient to extend the IP joint of the thumb only to a neutral position.

Control of edema is appropriate for patients who have joint stiffness or loss of motion due to swelling of the soft tissues. Removal of sutures is indicated following wound healing but will not address the functional EPL deficit. Sensory re-education is used to optimize functional outcome in patients with sensory nerve injuries. Arthrodesis of the MP joint can be performed to relieve severe posttraumatic arthritis, not acute tendon lacerations.

 

88

A 75-year-old woman with severe carpal tunnel syndrome has impaired movement of the right thumb. Once the thumb is positioned correctly, it can oppose. Which of the following tendon transfers will best improve thumb motion in this patient?

(A) Abductor digiti minimi (Huber)
(B) Extensor carpi ulnaris (Phalen/Miller)
(C) Extensor indicis proprius (Burkhalter)
(D) Flexor digitorum superficialis of the ring finger (Bunnell)
(E) Palmaris longus (Camitz)

The correct response is Option E.

In this 75-year-old woman who has severe carpal tunnel syndrome, the palmaris longus tendon should be transferred to improve thumb motion. Patients with severe carpal tunnel syndrome are often unable to fully clear the thumb from the palm. The Camitz abductorplasty can be used to augment the abductor pollicis brevis tendon with the palmaris longus.

In contrast to an abductorplasty, a true opponensplasty restores thumb-finger opposition. Opponensplasties vary according to their point of insertion and associated pulleys. The Bunnell opponensplasty involves transfer of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendon of the ring finger, while the Huber opponensplasty transfers the abductor digiti minimi tendon. The Phalen-Miller opponensplasty is a transfer of the extensor carpi ulnaris tendon, and the Burkhalter opponensplasty involves transfer of the extensor indicis proprius tendon.

 

89

Which of the following tendons comprise the compartment that forms the volar border of the anatomic snuff box?

(A) Abductor pollicis brevis and extensor pollicis longus
(B) Abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis
(C) Extensor digitorum communis and extensor indicis proprius
(D) Extensor pollicis longus and abductor pollicis longus
(E) Flexor carpi radialis and flexor pollicis longus

The correct response is Option B.

The volar border of the anatomic snuff box is comprised of the abductor pollicis longus (APL) and extensor pollicis brevis (EPB) tendons (first dorsal compartment). The dorsal border is comprised of the extensor pollicis longus (EPL) tendon (third dorsal compartment).

The above diagram shows the dorsal compartments of the forearm. The abductor pollicis brevis tendon is the most radial component of the thenar musculature; the extensor digitorum communis (EDC) and extensor indicis proprius (EIP) tendons are found in the fourth dorsal compartment. The flexor carpi radialis (FCR) tendon can be found radial to the other tendons within the superficial compartment of the volar forearm at the level of the wrist. The flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon lies within the deepest compartment of the volar forearm.

 

90

A 33-year-old machinist has high median and ulnar nerve paralysis after sustaining a gunshot wound to the nondominant right elbow. Which of the following tendon transfers is most appropriate for opponensplasty in this patient?

(A) Abductor digiti quinti
(B) Extensor indicis proprius
(C) Flexor digitorum superficialis of the ring finger
(D) Flexor pollicis longus
(E) Palmaris longus

The correct response is Option B.

In order for a tendon transfer to be successful, the muscle-tendon unit must be available, of appropriate strength, and able to be spared at the donor site (ie, function of the muscle cannot be critical to the site). The strength of the antagonist muscle must also be opposed, intercalary joints should have appropriate mobility, and the excursion and direction of the muscle should be well matched. In addition, the proposed tendon transfer should demonstrate integrity and synergy.

In this 33-year-old man who has developed high median and ulnar nerve paralysis, the extensor indicis proprius is the only tendon of those listed that still has motor innervation. The patient's injuries preclude the use of all muscle-tendon units powered by the paralyzed nerves. However, because the index finger has two independent extensor tendons, the extensor indicis proprius tendon can be used in tendon transfer.

A viable abductor digiti quinti muscle-tendon unit can be used for reconstruction in patients with thumb hypoplasia; this is known as the Huber opponensplasty. The flexor digitorum superficialis tendon of the ring finger can be used for opponensplasty when motor innervation is adequate; likewise, the function of the flexor pollicis longus tendon will most likely be restored with a transfer of the brachioradialis tendon. Transfer of the palmaris longus tendon to the abductor pollicis brevis tendon (Camitz transfer) is an abductorplasty, not an opponensplasty.

 

91

A 36-year-old woman has a boutonniere deformity of the right middle finger after sustaining a closed central slip injury while playing volleyball two months ago. She is able to extend the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint passively to 0 degrees. 

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

(A) Buddy taping of the PIP joint
(B) Splinting the distal interphalangeal joint at 0 degrees
(C) Splinting the PIP joint at 0 degrees
(D) Primary repair of the PIP joint
(E) Open repair of the PIP joint

The correct response is Option C.

This patient has a boutonniere deformity, in which the extensor mechanism (comprised of the central slip, transverse and oblique retinacular ligaments, and lateral bands) becomes imbalanced. In patients with this deformity, the central slip is damaged and the transverse retinacular ligament is stretched. The lateral bands begin to drift volarly, eventually moving anterior to the center of rotation of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. As a result, the lateral bands flex the PIP joint, and passive extension of the PIP joint becomes impossible.

There are three stages of boutonniere deformity. Patients with stage 1 deformities can passively extend the PIP joint. With stage 2, the joint becomes contracted and cannot be extended fully, but the joint itself is not yet involved. Degeneration of the joint is seen in a patient with a stage 3 boutonniere deformity.

Because this patient has only a stage 1 boutonniere deformity, the most appropriate management is splinting the PIP joint in extension (ie, at 0 degrees) for a minimum of six to eight months. The distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint should be unencumbered and allowed to flex actively, and an exercise program should be initiated for joint rehabilitation.

Buddy taping is only useful for certain types of injuries involving the collateral ligament and volar plate. Splinting of the DIP joint in extension is appropriate for treatment of a mallet finger deformity. Primary repair and open repair are difficult procedures and are not advocated as management options for patients with stage 1 deformities.