Surgical Treatment of Camptodactyly with Malek Cutaneous Approach and Stepwise Release: A Retrospective Multi-centre Study

J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2022 Apr;27(2):233-241. doi: 10.1142/S2424835522500308. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


Background: Clinical manifestations of camptodactyly are varied and no official consensus on the etiopathogenesis or best treatment is available. Conservative treatment is generally preferred and, in refractory patients, surgery might be considered. However, reported results of surgery are often unsatisfactory and it is difficult to compare outcomes as different classification systems are adopted. We reported the outcomes of surgical treatment of camptodactyly with the Malek cutaneous approach and stepwise release, assessed using the Siegert classification. Methods: A retrospective analysis of paediatric patients (≥1 and ≤18 years) with congenital camptodactyly refractory to conservative management (flexion contracture >30°), treated with Malek cutaneous approach and stepwise release surgery between June 2009 and June 2019 with at least 1 year of follow-up was performed. Pre- and post-operative clinical and radiographic assessments were evaluated for degrees of flexion contractures and early (<30 days) or late (>30 days) complications were recorded. Results: A total of 59 patients underwent surgery, of whom 38 (64%), including 42 fingers, were enrolled; mean patient age was 8 years (range 1-18). Post-operative mean flexion contracture was significantly improved (p > 0.001) and no infections were recorded. Mean follow-up was 6 years (range 1-10) and proximal interphalangeal joint extension deficits were rated according to Siegert classification as excellent (69%), good (12%), or fair (9.5%) and poor (9.5%). Conclusions: The Malek cutaneous approach and stepwise release of the retracting soft tissues allow prompt evaluation of the anatomical structures involved in the deformity and seem to be an effective surgical correction in the long term. Level of Evidence: Level IV (Therapeutic).

Keywords: Camptodactyly; Flexion contracture; Malek approach; Stepwise release; Surgical technique.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contracture* / etiology
  • Finger Joint / abnormalities
  • Finger Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Finger Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Joint Dislocations* / complications
  • Limb Deformities, Congenital* / complications
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Retrospective Studies