Scientific article| Volume 35, ISSUE 1, P11-18, January 2010

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Biomechanical Analysis of Partial Flexor Tendon Lacerations in Zone II of Human Cadavers


      The aims of this study were to examine nonrepaired 90% partial lacerations of human cadaver flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) tendon after simulated active motion, and to assess the residual ultimate tensile strength.


      Partial, transverse zone II flexor tendon lacerations were made in the volar 90% of the tendon substance in 10 FDP tendons from 5 fresh-frozen human cadaver hands. The tendons were cycled in the curvilinear fashion described by Greenwald 500 times to a tension 25% greater than the maximum in vivo active FDP flexion force measured by Schuind and colleagues. The tendons were then loaded to failure using the same curvilinear model.


      No tendons ruptured during cycling. Triggering occurred in 3 tendons. All 3 began triggering early in the cycling process, and continued to trigger throughout the remainder of the 500 cycles. The observed triggering mechanics in each case involved the interaction of the proximal face of the lacerated tendon with Camper's chiasm and the pulley edges during extension. The load to failure value of the 90% partially lacerated tendons averaged 141.7 ± 13 N (mean ± standard deviation). Tendon failure occurred by delamination of the intact collagen fibers from the distal, discontinuous 90% of the tendon.


      Cadaveric transverse zone II partial flexor tendon lacerations have residual tensile strength greater than the force required for protected active mobilization.

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