The treatment of chronic flexion contractures of the proximal interphalangeal joint

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A method of treatment of chronic flexion contractures of the PIP joint is presented, with the results obtained in 19 patients treated between 1989 and 1992 after a follow-up of from 6 to 53 months. The flexion contractures, with an extension deficit which ranged between 70 and 90°, had been present for a period of between 2 months and 24 years.

Our treatment program involves the surgical release of the unreducible PIP joint followed by the use of static and/or dynamic splints. Surgery is performed using a midlateral approach; the accessory collateral ligament and the flexor sheath are incised and, after the volar plate and check-rein ligaments have been excised, forced hyperextension is applied. The main collateral ligaments are carefully spared and freed from the condyle if there are any remaining adhesions.

In our 19 patients, complete extension of the finger was achieved in 11 cases (57.9%); in the remaining 8 …


G Abbiati, G Delaria, E Saporiti, M Petrolati, C Tremolada


Journal of Hand Surgery