Effect of a Flexor Digitorum Superficialis Hemitenodesis on Reducing Volar Plate Strains for Swan Neck Deformities

Mohammad M. Haddara, Assaf Kadar, Louis M. Ferreira, Nina Suh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) hemitenodesis is a common procedure to treat swan neck deformity (SND). We hypothesize that this surgical technique is a biomechanically effective way to reduce strain in the volar plate at the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ). Methods: Fifteen digits from 5 cadaveric specimens were tested using a novel in vitro active finger motion simulator under 4 finger conditions: intact, SND, FDS hemitenodesis, and FDS hemitenodesis with distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint fusion. Tensile loads in FDS and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) and joint ranges of motion were measured by electromagnetic tracking. In addition, strain gauges were inserted under the volar plate to measure strain during PIPJ hyperextension. Results were analyzed using 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance tests. Results: The SND condition increased volar plate strain by 176% ± 25% (P <.001) compared with the intact condition. The FDS hemitenodesis repair relieved more than 50% of the SND strain, restoring it to within no statistical difference from intact. The DIP fusion further reduced strain with no further statistical significance. At full flexion, FDS and FDP tendon loads diverged as a function of the test condition (P <.001). With the FDS hemitenodesis, the FDP load increased by 2.1 ± 1.5 N from the SND condition (P <.001), whereas the FDS load decreased by 1.3 ± 1.3 N (P =.012). Conclusion: The FDS hemitenodesis repair restored strains to within 3.0 milli-strain of the intact condition with no significant difference. Application of DIP fusion did not further protect the PIPJ from increased hyperextension and further exacerbated the imbalance of flexor tendon loads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • FDS hemitenodesis
  • hyperextension
  • strain
  • swan neck deformity
  • tendons
  • volar plate


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