Background: Camptodactyly is common, but its treatment remains controversial. Multiple deforming forces have been implicated in its pathogenesis. This study evaluates a logical clinical assessment and corresponding stepwise surgical plan.
Methods: Eighteen consecutive fingers (12 children) had surgery to treat camptodactyly of the proximal interphalangeal joint at a mean age of 8 years (range, 9 months to 15 years). The little (n = 13), ring (n = 2), and middle fingers (n = 3) were involved. Mean preoperative flexion contracture was 57 degrees (range, 35 to 75 degrees). All digits had moderate to severe contracture with functional impairment and were offered surgery. Preoperative and postoperative active range of motion was recorded. The sequential treatment steps correspond to the clinical examination and potentially involve volar skin release with flap, fascial release, flexor digitorum superficialis tenotomy, sliding volar plate release, extension lag correction, and Fowler extensor tenotomy.
Results: Mean postoperative flexion contracture resolved to 3 degrees (range, 0 to 25 degrees) at a mean follow-up of 11 months (range, 3 to 32 months). Mean proximal interphalangeal joint flexion was 88 degrees (range, 50 to 100 degrees). Fifteen of 18 fingers achieved full active proximal interphalangeal joint extension. The remaining digits had residual contractures of 5, 20, and 25 degrees. All digits had soft-tissue release with flap and flexor digitorum superficialis tenotomy, 16 had volar plate release, two had intrinsic transfers, and three had Fowler tenotomy release performed.
Conclusions: This stepwise surgical approach effectively treats severe camptodactyly and appears to confirm the authors' suspected pathogenesis of the disorder. Lumbricals and interossei were not involved.
Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.