Current trends in the prevention of adhesions after zone 2 flexor tendon repair

Chaiyos Vinitpairot, Jasper H.N. Yik, Dominik R. Haudenschild, Robert M. Szabo, Christopher O. Bayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treating flexor tendon injuries within the digital flexor sheath (commonly referred to as palmar hand zone 2) presents both technical and logistical challenges. Success hinges on striking a delicate balance between safeguarding the surgical repair for tendon healing and initiating early rehabilitation to mitigate the formation of tendon adhesions. Adhesions between tendon slips and between tendons and the flexor sheath impede tendon movement, leading to postoperative stiffness and functional impairment. While current approaches to flexor tendon repair prioritize maximizing tendon strength for early mobilization and adhesion prevention, factors such as pain, swelling, and patient compliance may impede postoperative rehabilitation efforts. Moreover, premature mobilization could risk repair failure, necessitating additional surgical interventions. Pharmacological agents offer a potential avenue for minimizing inflammation and reducing adhesion formation while still promoting normal tendon healing. Although some systemic and local agents have shown promising results in animal studies, their clinical efficacy remains uncertain. Limitations in these studies include the relevance of chosen animal models to human populations and the adequacy of tools and measurement techniques in accurately assessing the impact of adhesions. This article provides an overview of the clinical challenges associated with flexor tendon injuries, discusses current on- and off-label agents aimed at minimizing adhesion formation, and examines investigational models designed to study adhesion reduction after intra-synovial flexor tendon repair. Understanding the clinical problem and experimental models may serve as a catalyst for future research aimed at addressing intra-synovial tendon adhesions following zone 2 flexor tendon repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue numbern/a
StatePublished - May 18 2024


  • adhesion
  • agents
  • animal model
  • flexor tendon
  • healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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