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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Aims: We present a prospective study, with three-year follow-up, of the incidence, course and influence on surgical outcome of the abductor digiti minimi cord in Dupuytren’s contracture of the PIP joint of the little finger.

Methods: All patients presenting for surgery with primary Dupuytren’s contracture of the little finger over a six-month period were included in the study. Patterns of disease cords and joint involvement were noted. All fingers underwent fasciectomy of the central and pre-tendinous cords. If significant contracture remained the abductor cord was excised next, and the PIP joint itself released only if correction could still not be obtained. Contracture and range of movement of affected joints measured with goniometer pre-operatively, at each stage intra-operatively and at 3 months and 3 years post-op.

Results: The abductor cord was present in twleve of the nineteen fingers in the study, including all of those with ulnar-sided disease. The ulnar neurovascular bundle was found to be deep to the cord in nine fingers, encased by diseased tissue in two and displaced superficially in only one finger. Mean initial flexion deformity in these twelve fingers was 59, corrected to only 51 by resection of the central and pre-tendinous cords. Excision of the abductor cord further improved the contracture to 25 while PIP join release improved it to 6. Flexion deformity was 18 at three months and 21 at three years. For the seven fingers in which no abductor cord was found, mean initial flexion deformity was 42, improving to 24 following fasciectomy and 4 with joint release. It was 16 at three months and 18 at three years. No significant difference in outcome could be identified between the groups at three months or three years.

Conclusions: The abductor cord is present in roughly two-thirds of little fingers with contracture pf the PIP joint. The ulnar digital nerve usually lies deep to the abductor cord but in roughly one quarter of cases is either encased in or superficial to it. In affected fingers, resection of the cord accounts for more than half of the total correction obtained and three quarters of that obtained by fasciectomy. Presence of the ADM cord does not prejudice long-term outcome provided it is adequately resected.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.