Autonomous Patient-Controlled Mobilization Protocol After Flexor Tendon Repair: A Case Series

Bárbara Gómez, María Rodríguez, Luis García
Hand: Official Journal of the American Association for Hand Surgery 2020 October 20, : 1558944720964961

BACKGROUND: Despite many publications on rehabilitation after repair of flexor tendon injuries of the hand, there is no consensus as to which method is superior. It is clear that nonadherence to postoperative therapy adversely affects the outcome after flexor tendon surgery. In the context of a developing country, the most important factor associated with poor outcome is late onset of rehabilitation therapy. An autonomous rehabilitation program is proposed, with the use of a low-cost splint and based on an online illustrative video with the expectation to improve adherence and patient compliance, thus ensuring satisfactory outcome.

METHODS: Twenty-two consecutive digits of 14 patients after flexor tendon repair in zone II were included. Autonomous early passive mobilization physical therapy and splinting started shortly after surgery, supported by an online available video depicting prescribed exercises; follow-up was continued until postoperative week 20. Patients were evaluated regarding range of motion, grip strength, and the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (QuickDASH) disability scale.

RESULTS: Range of motion after 20 weeks according to the scoring system of the American Society of Surgery of Hand was excellent in 4, good in 11, and fair in 4 fingers. The mean total active motion score was 86% (95% confidence interval, 78%-93%). The mean grip strength at final follow-up was 86% of the contralateral hand. The mean QuickDASH score was 12.5 (2.3-31.8).

CONCLUSION: This protocol achieves good results in range of motion and early return of function of the hand. We propose this simple, nonexpensive method to developing countries with less than optimal availability of health care.

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