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Hand Surg. 2014;19(2):305-10. doi: 10.1142/S0218810414300022.

Management of flexor tendon injuries - Part 2: current practice in Australia and guidelines for training young surgeons.

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Department of Hand Surgery and Peripheral Nerve Surgery, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



This study aims to gain a better understanding of current practice for the surgical management and rehabilitation of flexor tendon injuries in Australia, with the intent of establishing common guidelines for training of young surgeons.


A survey was distributed to the membership of the Australian Hand Surgery Society to determine whether a consensus could be obtained for: suture material and gauge; core and epitenon suture techniques; sheath and pulley management; and post-operative protocols for primary flexor tendon repair.


The predominant materials used for core suture are Ticron™ Suture (Tyco Healthcare Group LP, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA) (34%) and Ethibond™ Polyester Suture (Ethicon, Somerville, New Jersey, USA) (24%). The two core suture configurations commonly used are the Adelaide (45%) and Kessler (32%) repair. The predominant materials used for epitendinous sutures are 6-0 Prolene™ Polypropylene Suture (Ethicon, Somerville, New Jersey, USA) (56%), 5-0 Prolene™ (21%) and 6-0 Ethilon™ Nylon Suture (Ethicon, Somerville, New Jersey, USA) (13%); and the majority (63%) use a running epitendinous technique. The management of critical pulleys is variable, with 89% prepared to perform some release of A2 and A4 pulleys. Rehabilitation protocols vary widely, with 24% of respondents using the same method for all patients, while 76% tailor their approach to each patient. Some component of active motion was used by most.


There exists some consensus on the management of flexor tendon injuries in Australia. However, the management of critical pulleys and methods of post-operative rehabilitation remain varied. For the training of young surgeons, a majority advise a 3-0 gauge braided polyester core suture of four strands, combined with a 6-0 Prolene™ simple running epitendinous suture for increased tendon repair strength and smooth glide. Trainees should attempt to retain the integrity of the A2 and A4 pulleys. Post-operative rehabilitation should include a component of active flexion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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