Oral Communication

Results and complications of transfer of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendons to the flexor digitorum profundus tendons in the spastic patient : a series of 26 patients.

Ms Emmanuella PÉRAULTa, Dr Iskander DJERBIa, Dr Flavia Oana COROIANa, Prof Isabelle LAFFONTa, Prof Bertrand COULETa

a CHU Lapeyronie Montpellier


The hand of the brain damaged patient combines motor deficit, abnormal muscle tone causing spasticity, and sensory defect. The purpose of surgical program could be functional by restoring grasp or non-functional by resolving hygienic problems, and improving cosmetic appearance due to the clenched fist deformity.

The superficialis-to-profundus tendon transfer, first described by Braun and al, allows the opening of non-functional hands.

The aim of our study was to confirm the efficacy of this technique to correct vicious attitudes, to highlight a possible functional gain and finally to identify any complications.

Materials and methods:

Patients (9 women and 17 men, aged 36-79 years) were evaluated by a team of rehabilitation physicians and orthopeadic surgeons. Palliative transfer of the flexor digitorum superficialis tendons to the flexor digitorum profundus tendons has been achieved. Pictures were taken both preoperatively and during follow-up consultations. The hands were classified according to their appearance: the position of the wrist and fingers (Keenan and al). Surgery complications were sought.


Mean follow-up was 47 months. Preoperatively all hands were classified type 5 (closed hand: no distance between palm and pulp).

Postoperatively 38% of patients have type 1 hand (wrist in neutral position, metacarpophalangeal joints (MCP) and proximal interphalangeal (PIP) at 20 ° of flexion) and 46% type 2 hand (fingers are more flexed (MCP and PIP at 40 ° of flexion)), with good cosmetic appearance. None of them have hygienic problems. Mean House score increased from 0 to 0.9, with 7 patients improved.

Four patients had an attitude of supination of the forearm, 10 had an intrinsic-plus deformity and 6 had swan neck deformity of the finger. Secondary procedures had to be made.


This transfer gives satisfactory results on the opening of the hand but with significant complications. Intrinsic spasticity may be unmasked. Accessories pronator muscles release, while the biceps is spastic, can lead to an attitude of supination of the forearm, which causes functional and esthetic problems.

Keywords : Adult; Hemiplegia; Spastic hand; Tendons/surgery