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Upper Limb

A new technique for repair of acute or chronic extensor tendon injuries in zone 1

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We describe a new surgical technique for the treatment of lacerations of the extensor tendon in zone I, which involves a tenodesis using a length of palmaris longus tendon one-quarter of its width. After exposing the dorsal aspect of the distal interphalangeal joint and harvesting the tendon, a 1.5 mm drill bit is passed through the insertion of the extensor tendon into the distal phalanx where it penetrates through the skin of the pulp of the digit. The palmaris longus tendon is threaded through the drill hole from dorsal to ventral and the ventral end is tied in a simple knot and trimmed. The palmaris longus tendon is then sutured to the extensor tendon close to its insertion, and also at the middle of the middle phalanx.

The operation was undertaken on 67 patients: 27 with an acute injury and 40 patients with a chronic mallet deformity. One finger (or the thumb) was involved in each patient. At a mean follow-up of 12 months (6 to 18), 66 patients (98.5%) received excellent or good results according to both the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) classification and Miller’s classification.

Tenodesis using palmaris longus tendon after complete division of an extensor tendon in zone 1 is a reliable form of treatment for isolated acute or chronic ruptures.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor Y. P. Gu; e-mail:

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