Tendon transfers for radial nerve palsy: use of superficialis tendons for digital extension

R G Chuinard, J H Boyes, H H Stark, C R Ashworth
Journal of Hand Surgery 1978, 3 (6): 560-70
Since 1959, 22 patients have had wrist extension restored by transfer of the pronator teres to the extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis, common finger extension by transfer of the superficialis of the long finger, independent thumb and index finger extension by transfer of the superficialis of the ring finger, and abduction of the thumb by transfer of the flexor carpi radialis at the wrist joint level. Twenty-one of 22 patients have been evaluated from 8 months to 15 years after operation, with an average follow-up of 4.5 years. By our new system of evaluation, there were 10 excellent results, six good results, five fair results, and all patients improved. Sixteen patients obtained full, independent thumb-index finger extension, three had fair function, and two obtained thumb-index extension by tenodesis of the transfer. This procedure allows full metacarpophalangeal extension independent of wrist position, provides thumb-index finger extension independent of the ulnar three digits, and maintains the dorsal-radial-to-volar-ulnar plane of functional motion of the wrist by retaining the flexor carpi ulnaris.

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