Traction Tenolysis for Flexor Tendon Adhesions: Outcomes in 97 Patients

Published:August 06, 2022DOI:


      Traction tenolysis is an alternative, less invasive way of performing flexor tendon tenolysis by winding affected tendons around a surgical instrument. This study assessed outcomes and complications in a cohort of patients who underwent traction tenolysis to determine its effectiveness.


      We retrospectively reviewed 97 patients who underwent traction tenolysis performed by 4 fellowship-trained hand surgeons from 2010 to 2019. We collected data on preoperative and postoperative ranges of motion, the number and type of prior ipsilateral hand surgeries, and the duration of therapy and follow-up. Cases of traditional open tenosynovectomy tenolysis were excluded.


      Approximately two-thirds of the patients achieved more than 75% of the normal total active motion, and 80% achieved at least 50% of the normal total active motion. The mean total active flexion increased significantly by 42° and passive flexion by 25°. The differences in active and passive flexion significantly decreased from 28° before the surgery to 9° after the surgery. The active and passive flexion of the distal interphalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints improved similarly, at approximately 20° and 10°, respectively. The average duration of follow-up was 11 ± 8 weeks. The complication rate was 5%: 1 case of intraoperative flexor digitorum superficialis tendon rupture, 1 case of postoperative infection, and 3 reoperations because of failure to progress.


      Traction tenolysis is an alternative to traditional open tenolysis surgery in selected patients.

      Level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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