Original Communications| Volume 25, ISSUE 2, P252-259, March 2000

Adhesions from flexor tendon surgery: An animal study comparing surgical techniques


      Intraoperative and postoperative hemorrhage has long been considered a cause of tendon adhesion and, thus, scarring and poor surgical results. To prevent such problems bipolar coagulators are commonly used during surgery to help achieve hemostasis. Surgical lasers also have been reported to help limit bleeding and scar formation. Very little is known regarding the relationship between hemorrhage and/or direct tendon tissue effects and tendon adhesions with the use of these modalities. We compared 3 different surgical techniques (meticulous sharp scalpel dissection, scalpel dissection plus bipolar coagulation, and CO2 laser dissection) and used chicken flexor tendons to biomechanically and histologically assess the amount of adhesion formation after each procedure. Our findings show that bipolar coagulation and CO2 laser application are both associated with significantly increased adhesion formation in tendon surgery compared with sharp dissection alone and that the meticulous, conventional sharp dissection technique is the best method to control adhesion formation. These conclusions have relevance to clinical tendon surgery. (J Hand Surg 2000;25A:252–259. Copyright © by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.)


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