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Acta Anat (Basel). 1997;160(2):112-22.

Connections between the tendons of the musculus flexor digitorum profundus involving the synovial sheaths in the carpal tunnel.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


In the carpal tunnel anatomical interconnections between the tendons of the musculus flexor digitorum profundus are systematically present. These interconnections limit the mutual tendon displacements, which decreases finger independence and may be problematic in a musician's hand. The present study investigates a possible role of the synovial sheaths in the formation of these intertendinous connections in the carpal tunnel. To this end a morphological model is provided which correlates the often distinctly fibrous structure of the deep flexor tendons in the carpal tunnel and the frequent exchange of tendon fibres between the tendons to the different fingers, with the tendency of the synovial membranes to strongly adhere to the tendons. This model is validated by gross dissection results, and by cross sections of the flexor tendons in the carpal tunnel. In agreement with the model, the anatomic data show that the synovial membranes tend to invade and become trapped in tendons made up from individualised tendon strands, and also strongly adhere to the substantial amounts of tendon fibres which may be exchanged between the flexor tendons proximal to the lumbrical origins. These fibres and the synovial membranes may form a strong fabric able to withstand substantial stretching forces of interconnected oppositely pulled flexor tendons.

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