The Steindler flexorplasty for the arthrogrypotic elbow

Charles A. Goldfarb, Michelle S. Burke, William B. Strecker, Paul R. Manske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: The arthrogrypotic elbow often lacks active flexion. If active elbow flexion can be provided by muscle transfer, patient independence increases and the patient can function in a less conspicuous manner by avoiding adaptive mechanisms. The purpose of this article is to review the outcome of patients with arthrogryposis treated with the Steindler flexorplasty to obtain active elbow flexion. Methods: Seventeen elbows in 10 patients with an average age of 7 years were treated surgically with the Steindler flexorplasty procedure. Before surgery none of the patients was able to flex actively the elbow against gravity. All of the patients had at least 70° of passive elbow flexion. Upper-extremity active and passive range of motion, strength of flexion, functional outcome, and patient satisfaction were assessed at an average of 5 years after surgery (range, 2-9 years). Results: After surgery all patients obtained active elbow flexion against gravity averaging 85° (range, 30°-120°); patients were able to lift an average of 1 kg through their entire arc of elbow flexion. At last follow-up evaluation patients lost an average of 27° of elbow extension. Patients lost forearm rotation but did not lose wrist or finger range of motion. Subjectively, 9 of the 10 patients were satisfied with the outcome of the surgery and would recommend the surgery to others. Conclusions: The Steindler flexorplasty provides improved elbow flexion strength and patient function and should be considered for children with arthrogryposis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Amyoplasia
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Elbow
  • Flexorplasty
  • Steindler


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