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J Hand Surg Am. 2014 Feb;39(2):269-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2013.11.030.

Outcomes of free adipofascial flaps combined with tenolysis in scarred beds.

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  • 1Instituto de Cirugía Plástica y de la Mano, Private Practice and Hospital Mutua Montañesa, Santander, Spain. Electronic address:
  • 2Instituto de Cirugía Plástica y de la Mano, Private Practice and Hospital Mutua Montañesa, Santander, Spain.



To review our outcomes of transferring vascularized free adipofascial flaps used to change the local tissue conditions at the time of tenolysis in adhesion-prone beds.


Eleven free adipofascial flaps were transplanted in 10 patients after tenolysis on the forearm (3 cases), the dorsum of the hand (5 cases), or the dorsum of the proximal phalanx (3 cases). All recipient areas had badly scarred beds, 7 of which had previously failed tenolyses. In addition to tenolysis (10) or the insertion of bridging tendon grafts (1), arthrolysis of several involved joints and bone fixation for nonunion (3 cases) were carried out simultaneously. The adipofascial flap was then wrapped around the tendons or interposed between the scarred tissue and the freed tendons. In 8 cases, the flap was the lateral arm adipofascial flap, whereas adipose flaps from the toes were used for the fingers.


All flaps survived without vascular crisis. In all cases, total active motion was similar to the passive motion obtained at surgery. Average Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score improved from 69 to 10, and average Patient-Rated Wrist Hand Evaluation score improved from 65 to 9. Secondary surgery was needed to reduce the bulk of the flap in 3 patients. One patient required an additional procedure to obtain an optimum result.


Free adipofascial flaps provided satisfying results in this group of patients. The flaps should be considered when the bed is scarred or after a failed tenolysis.


Therapeutic IV.

Copyright © 2014 American Society for Surgery of the Hand. All rights reserved.


Microsurgery; crushed hand; frozen hand; tendon surgery; tenolysis

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