RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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A study of ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb metacarpophalangeal joint.

The current study examined the biomechanical properties of intact and repaired ulnar collateral ligaments of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb to determine a safe rehabilitation protocol after repair. In the first part of the study mechanical properties of the ligament were examined and the induced stress and strain were determined during simulated pinch and grip. In the second part of the study the strength and limitations of ulnar collateral ligament repair using a mini-Mitek bone suture anchor was determined. The biomechanical study was done on 16 fresh-frozen thumbs from male cadavers. Failure load, maximum stress, and Young's modulus of intact ulnar collateral ligament were 294.3 +/- 28.2 N, 11.4 +/- 1.2 MPa, and 37.3 +/- 5.1 MPa, respectively. There was no significant correlation between the low grip force and the ligament strain. There was, however, a significant correlation between the pinch force and the ligament strain. The failure load and joint rigidity of intact ulnar collateral ligaments were significantly higher (3.1 and 2.3 times, respectively) than the mini-Mitek repaired ligaments. The current study suggests that pinch activity during the rehabilitative process after repair or reattachment of the ulnar collateral ligament should be eliminated. Repaired ligaments with mini-Mitek bone suture anchors may be able to do a moderate range of motion during postoperative rehabilitation; however, additional in vivo studies are necessary before any clinical recommendation is made.

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