Magnetic resonance imaging appearance of the flexor carpi radialis tendon after harvest in ligamentous reconstruction tendon interposition arthroplasty

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ObjectiveTo determine whether the post-harvest magnetic resonance (MR) imaging appearance of flexor carpi radialis (FCR) tendons, harvested during ligamentous reconstruction tendon interposition (LRTI) of the thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) joint arthroplasty, is consistent with tendon regeneration.DesignOperative reports and patient medical records for all patients undergoing LRTI arthroplasty between 1995 and 2003 at our institution were reviewed. MR images of the patients' forearms and wrists were obtained and interpreted by two musculoskeletal radiologists. Using the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) tendon as an internal standard, the extent of FCR tendon regeneration was expressed as a percentage by dividing the volume of regenerated FCR tendon by the volume of the FCU tendon.PatientsFourteen patients who had the full thickness of the FCR tendon harvested and who were available for MR imaging were identified and included in the study.Results and ConclusionsAt least partial regeneration of the FCR tendon occurred in 11 of the 14 patients (79%). Of these, 2 patients (14%), demonstrated complete, or nearly complete regeneration. Partial regeneration of the FCR tendon was seen in 9 of the 14 patients (64%). In 3 patients (21%), there was no appreciable regeneration of the FCR tendon. Among patients who underwent full-thickness harvest of the FCR tendon for LRTI arthroplasty of the first CMC joint, the follow-up MR imaging appearance of the flexor carpi radialis tendon was consistent with tendon regeneration in 79% of those examined.

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