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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1993 Sep;92(3):507-10.

Extensor digiti minimi tendon transfer to prevent recurrent ulnar drift.

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Division of Hand Surgery, Stanford University Hospital, Calif.


Thirty percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis develop ulnar drift. Although numerous operations have been described, recurrence of the deformity is frequent. We recommend use of the extensor digiti minimi tendon transfer to prevent recurrent ulnar deviation. The tendon insertion is moved from a dorsal location to a dorsal-radial position. In this new location, the tendon produces both extension and radial deviation. Moreover, this transfer is maximally effective in extension when ulnar drift is greatest. We have used this transfer 28 times during the past 6 years. In evaluating patients more than 1 year after surgery, metacarpal phalangeal joint extension averaged 52 degrees and there was no evidence of recurrent ulnar drift of the little finger. The only problem was slight hyperextension of less than 5 degrees in approximately half of the patients. However, in no patient was this functionally a problem. We recommend the use of this tendon transfer in all patients with ulnar drift undergoing metacarpal phalangeal joint replacement for rheumatoid arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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