The use of external fixators for finger injuries: PIN PLACEMENT AND TETHERING OF THE EXTENSOR HOOD

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External fixation is useful for the treatment of selected injuries to the hand.Some authors have suggested that external fixation of a phalanx may tether the extensor hood, thereby hindering active movements and predisposing to permanent adhesions. There is no consensus as to the best site for placement of the pin to minimise these problems. This study was performed on cadaver specimens to investigate the influence of the pin site on the range of simulated active movement of the interphalangeal joint. The dorsal midline position produces least interference with the extensor mechanism; radial and ulnar to this, interdigitating oblique fibres prevent a clean longitudinal split in the direction of gliding thus limiting movement of the extensor hood. At the proximal phalanx, positioning of the pin just off the midline avoids the thickening of the proximal median hood, whereas at the middle phalanx, a true midline position utilises the bare area at its base.

J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 1998;80-B:1020-3.

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