JOURNAL ARTICLE

Ligament replacement for chronic instability of the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb

S Z Glickel, M Malerich, S M Pearce, J W Littler
Journal of Hand Surgery 1993, 18 (5): 930-41
8228072
Static and dynamic procedures have been described for reconstruction of chronic instability of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb metacarpophalangeal joint. This study presents a technique of ligament replacement utilizing a free tendon graft passed through two gouge tracks in the proximal phalanx and one in the metacarpal in a manner that closely approximates normal anatomy. We retrospectively reviewed 26 patients who underwent replacement. The follow-up period averaged 4.5 years. In 24 of 26 cases the joint was rendered stable by the replacement and the patient was relieved of pain. Eighty-five percent of the arc of motion was maintained. Postoperative key pinch measured 20 lb. on the operated side compared to 21 lb. on the unoperated side. Results were excellent in 20 patients, good in 4, and fair in 2. This technique successfully restores stability to the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb metacarpophalangeal joint, diminishes pain and weakness with minimal loss of motion, and holds up over time.

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