Cadaveric study of sonographically assisted percutaneous release of the A1 pulley

Tai Chang Chern, I. Ming Jou, Shih Hung Yen, Kuo An Lai, Chungjung Shao

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to assess the value of using intraoperative sonography to assist percutaneous release of the A1 pulley in cadavers. By detailed sonographic examination and anatomical exploration, the authors determined the correlation of the actual A1 and A2 pulleys (and adjacent neurovascular bundles not visualized by sonography) to the clearly visualized flexor tendons and the metacarpophalangeal joint. The authors also evaluated their effectiveness as landmarks and the effectiveness of real-time sonographic monitoring during percutaneous release. Experiments were performed on 80 fingers and 20 thumbs in 10 cadavers. All digits were sonographically examined. The clearly delineated bony landmarks of the metacarpophalangeal joint were measured and marked. The A1 and A2 pulleys and the neurovascular bundles were surgically exposed, and their relation to the markers made during sonographic examination was measured. Using these parameters, sonographically assisted percutaneous release of the A1 pulley with a custom-made hook knife was performed on the contralateral side. The completeness of the A1 release and the potential risk of injuries to the A2, flexor tendon, and neurovascular bundles in each digit were examined. Results showed good correlation between the actual length of the A1 pulleys and the sonographically determined distance between the bony prominences of the metacarpophalangeal joint in all digits. Release was complete in 48 of the 50 digits (96 percent) and partial in two, with no injuries to neurovascular bundles. Sonography can clearly delineate the flexor tendon and underlying bony boundary of the metacarpophalangeal joint, which is useful in directing the percutaneous release of the A1 pulley. Sonography can also provide real-time intraoperative monitoring. The results using this new release technique were adequate. The method is safe and its clinical application should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-822
Number of pages12
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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