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J Hand Surg Am. 2002 Jul;27(4):659-65.

Physiolysis for correction of clinodactyly in children.

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Divisions of Plastic and Orthopaedic Surgery, Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 3175 ch de la Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1C5, Canada.


Congenital clinodactyly is a lateral deviation of a finger frequently caused by an abnormal middle phalanx (trapezoidal or triangular delta phalanx). The physis extends longitudinally on the short side of the middle phalanx. Resection of the abnormal longitudinal physis and fat graft interposition (physiolysis) has been reported to correct the lateral finger deviation in growing children. We reviewed 35 fingers that had a physiolysis procedure. The age at surgery varied from 2.9 to 10.9 years (mean, 6.6 y), the preoperative angulation was 20 degrees to 29 degrees in 9 fingers, 30 degrees to 39 degrees in 16 fingers, and 40 degrees or more in 10 fingers. Thirty-one fingers presented a trapezoidal phalanx and 4 fingers a triangular phalanx. Ten fingers had a second surgery using the same procedure. Follow-up time ranged from 1.2 to 5.3 years (mean, 3.2 y). After 1 procedure the degree of correction varied from 0 degrees to 30 degrees (mean, 11.1 degrees). The residual angulation was <15 degrees in 8 fingers, 15 degrees to 19 degrees in 4 fingers, 20 degrees to 29 degrees in 15 fingers, 30 degrees to 39 degrees in 6 fingers, and > or =40 degrees in 2 fingers. Correction obtained in the trapezoidal phalanges was better (mean 12.5 degrees) than in the triangular phalanges (mean, 2.8 degrees). The fingers presenting a more severe preoperative deformity (angulation > or =40 degrees) had a better correction (mean, 20 degrees) compared with fingers with a lesser deformity (mean, 7.5 degrees). The correction was also better in children who had surgery before 6 years of age (mean, 17.9 degrees) compared with older children (mean, 6.5 degrees). A second physiolysis procedure was not beneficial in 8 of 10 fingers reoperated and 2 premature fusions of the proximal transverse physis were found among these 10 fingers. There were no other complications. The physiolysis procedure is simple and effective, particularly in children presenting with a trapezoidal phalanx who have surgery before 6 years of age.

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