The Role of Ultrasound in the Management of Flexor Tendon Injuries

Author(s): Jeyapalan K, Bisson MA, Dias JJ, Griffin Y, Bhatt R

Source: J Hand Surg 33E:430-434, 2008.


The authors review the ultrasound study findings in 18 digits examined for flexor tendon injury.  They found ultrasound valuable in assessing for tendon adhesions and rupture after both injury and repair.  They avoided surgery in 14 cases by excluding flexor tendon re-rupture, allowing for on-going finger mobilization and recovery of function.  
Ultrasound can be a valuable tool in assessing tendon and tendon sheath integrity after injury and repair.  The images are obtained in real-time and without exposure to ionizing radiation.  However, the quality of the study may be adversely affected by the power of the transducer (> 7.5 MHz preferred) and the experience and knowledge of the ultrasonographer.  Ultrasound examination is often forgotten in lieu of more expensive and complicated imaging modalities such as MRI.  It can yield important clinical data in selected settings such as flexor tendon injury and rehabilitation.