An Analysis of Profundus Tendon Repairs After Distal Phalanx Amputation in a Cadaveric Model of Little Finger Superficialis Deficiency

Published:November 06, 2021DOI:


      The flexor digitorum superficialis tendon to the little finger (FDS-5) has been observed to have a higher degree of functional and structural variation than the FDS of other digits. FDS-5-deficient individuals necessarily rely on the flexor digitorum profundus tendon to the little finger (FDP-5) for flexion in their little fingers. FDS-5 deficient patients who experience a considerable injury to their FDP-5 are therefore at a risk of losing substantial little finger flexion. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree of flexion of the little finger at the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints in a cadaveric model of FDS-5 deficiency following amputation of the distal phalanx.


      Ten fresh-frozen cadaveric upper extremities with no prior trauma were used. Loads were applied to the FDP-5. Flexion at the PIP and metacarpophalangeal joints was measured in degrees with a goniometer. Little finger flexion testing was conducted under 5 different conditions: “baseline,” “FDS-deficient,” “no repair,” “bone anchor” repair, and “A4 pulley” repair.


      The results were as follows: (1) no significant differences in the flexion between baseline and FDS-deficient conditions; (2) a significant decline in PIP flexion in the no repair condition after FDP-5 division compared with the FDS-deficient condition; (3) a significant restoration in PIP flexion in both surgical repair groups compared with the no repair group; and (4) no significant differences in PIP flexion between the A4 pulley and bone anchor groups.


      The bone anchor repair and the A4 pulley repair demonstrate similar abilities to restore flexion of the little finger at the PIP joint to baseline levels in this cadaveric model.

      Clinical relevance

      A clinical protocol is yet to be established for the surgical treatment in FDS-5-deficient patients requiring amputation of the distal phalanx of the little finger. This study aims to address this area of uncertainty by comparing the little finger flexion after 2 different approaches to profundus tendon reattachment that may be applicable in this clinical scenario.

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