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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1989 May;71(3):383-7.

Free tendon grafting to repair the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb. Surgical techniques and a review of 70 patients.

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Department of General Surgery, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We report the use of a free tendon graft in 70 patients to repair lesions of the capsuloligamentous complex of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb. Of these 37 had a lesion of the ulnar collateral ligament, 18 of the radial collateral and 11 of the volar plate. Four patients had combined lesions. We outline our techniques and review 51 of the patients. Of those 47 (92%) were satisfied, and all but one had regained full stability. Pinch grip strength was normal in 48. About one-third of the patients had some loss of flexion/extension; this was seldom noticed by the patients and caused no significant disability. Free tendon graft reconstruction is indicated for severe fresh lesions, for old lesions with chronic disability and for lesions which have not responded to conservative management.

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