Tendon deficiency limits repair and reconstructive options after tendon and nerve injuries of the upper extremity. Current treatment options include intercalary tendon autograft, tendon transfers, and two-stage tenodesis, with sacrifice of the flexor digitorum superficialis. These reconstructive techniques are associated with donor site morbidity and limited in the setting of multiple tendon deficiencies. The tendon with z-lengthening (TWZL) technique is presented here as an alternative treatment method for tendon injuries and tendon transfer reconstruction after nerve injuries. The TWZL technique involves splitting a tendon longitudinally, reflecting the freed tendon limb distally, and suture augmentation at the bridge site located at the distal end of the native tendon. The TWZL technique has applications throughout the upper extremity—flexor and extensor tendons injuries, biceps and triceps tendon injuries, and tendon transfers for restoration of hand function after nerve injuries. An illustrative case example is also provided. The experienced hand surgeon should consider the TWZL technique as a potential treatment option when faced with difficult clinical conditions of the hand and upper extremities.
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Published online: March 04, 2023
Accepted: December 23, 2022
Received: November 9, 2021
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
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