Autogenous flexor tendon grafts: Biologic mechanisms for incorporation

John Gray Seiler, Constance R. Chu, David Amiel, Savio L.Y. Woo, Richard H. Gelberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


To examine the hypothesis that different types of dense regular connective tissue may have different repair mechanisms within the synovial space, intrasynovial and extrasynovial autogenous donor flexor tendon wafts were placed within the synovial sheaths of the medial and lateral forepaw digits of dogs. Histologic, ultrastructural, biochemical, and biomechanical analyses were done between 10 days and 6 weeks after tendon grafting. Intrasynovial tendon grafts remained viable when transferred to the synovial space and appeared to heal through an intrinsic process with preservation of the gliding surface and improved functional characteristics. Extrasynovial tendon grafts functioned as a scaffolding for the early ingrowth of new vessels and cells. Early cellular necrosis consistently was followed by the ingrowth of fibrovascular adhesions from the periphery. The formation of dense peripheral adhesions, obliterating the gliding surface of the tendon, led to diminished tendon excursion and proximal interphalangeal joint rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1997


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