Acute A4 Pulley Reconstruction with a First Extensor Compartment Onlay Graft

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Abstract

Background:

The integrity of the flexor tendon pulley apparatus is crucial for unimpaired function of the digits. Although secondary reconstruction is an established procedure in multi-pulley injuries, acute reconstruction of isolated, closed pulley ruptures is a rare occurrence. There are 3 factors influencing the functional outcome of a reconstruction: gapping distance between tendon and bone (E-space), bulkiness of the reconstruction, and stability. As direct repair is rarely done, grafts are used to reinforce the pulley. An advantage of the first extensor retinaculum graft is the synovial coating providing the possibility to be used both as a direct graft with synovial coating or as an onlay graft after removal of the synovia when the native synovial layer is present.

Methods:

A graft from the first dorsal extensor compartment is used as an onlay graft to reinforce the sutured A4 pulley. This technique allows reconstruction of the original dimensions of the pulley system while stability is ensured by anchoring the onlay graft to the bony insertions of the pulley.

Results:

Anatomical reconstruction can be achieved with this method. The measured E-space remained 0 mm throughout the recovery, while the graft incorporated as a slim reinforcement of the pulley, displaying no bulkiness.

Conclusions:

The ideal reconstruction should provide synovial coating and sufficient strength with minimal bulk. Early reconstruction using an onlay graft offers these options. The native synovial lining is preserved and the graft is used to reinforce the pulley.

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