Complications and Clinical Outcomes Following Zone I Flexor Tendon Repair Using All-Inside Suture Fixation

Published:October 03, 2022DOI:


      The purpose of this study was to evaluate complications and outcomes of an all-inside repair technique for flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) avulsions.


      A retrospective review of a single institution database identified all FDP avulsions that were repaired using an all-inside technique by a single surgeon. In this method, 2 Keith needles are drilled from the volar to dorsal aspect, exiting proximal to the nail matrix and within the extensor tendon. Nonabsorbable sutures were placed in the flexor tendon and passed through the bone tunnels, tying dorsally over the distal phalanx. The demographics characteristics, injury characteristics, the surgical procedure, postoperative complications, and outcomes were reviewed.


      Seventeen patients were included in the study. The average age was 40 years (range, 21–68 years), and 2 patients were women. Seventeen fingers were included: 14 ring fingers, 1 index finger, and 2 little fingers. Six patients had an associated distal phalanx fracture and one had an associated distal interphalangeal joint dislocation. The average time between injury and surgery was 9 days (range, 2–18 days). Four patients had complications: 3 with erythema related to infection, which appeared to be a reaction to the suture prompting removal, and 1 with a subungual mass related to the suture at removal. One patient had persistent pain. Postoperative range of motion, assessed using the Strickland criteria, was excellent or good in 5 (33%) of 15 patients, but this was predominantly due to motion at the proximal joints as overall DIP motion was limited. Patients had a mean distal interphalangeal joint range of motion of 24° (range, 0° to 55°).


      In our series, repair of FDP avulsions via all-inside suture fixation is associated with limited distal interphalangeal joint motion and an incidence of infection (24%) at final follow-up.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic V.

      Key words

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