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1 . In the common type of Volkmann's ischaemic contracture affecting the forearm flexors, the infarct takes the form of an ellipsoid with its axis in the line of the anterior interosseous artery and with its central point a little above the middle of the forearm. The greatest damage is at the centre and usually falls most heavily on flexor digitorum profundus and flexor pollicis longus, which are often necrotic. Those muscles more superficially placed, and sometimes the deep extensors, are more likely to exhibit fibrosis.

2. The median nerve runs near the centre of the ellipsoid and may exhibit profound ischaemia. The ulnar nerve, lying at the edge of the ischaemic zone, tends to be less severely affected.

3. The treatment for this condition is excision of all tissues irreparably damaged by ischaemia. If this operation is performed within twelve months from the time of injury, correction of the contracture should be almost complete. The tendons of shortened but active muscles are lengthened or transplanted.

4. After such excision it is possible to carry out reconstructive procedures commonly used in the surgery of lower motor neurone disorders and of trauma. A wide variety of tendon transplantations is available. The median nerve may be repaired either by a free graft or, in cases where both nerves have been extensively damaged by ischaemia, by an ulnar to median nerve-pedicle graft.

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