First-Hand Results of Hand Surgery
Do you ever wonder how doctors come up with new ways of doing surgery? Would you want to be the first one they tried a new method on? Fortunately, you won't have to. Tests are done first using animals or cadavers (human bodies preserved for study). One example is a new repair method for tendons in the hand.Recent studies have shown that early movement after hand surgery has the best results. Knowing this, doctors have used cadavers to try out different ways to make stitches (sutures). It is important to tie sutures that will not tear during early movement. The sutures must be thin enough to allow the tendon to move or glide. A stronger but less bulky repair and smoother tendon motion keep scar tissue from forming.By using cadavers, doctors can try different repair methods and see the results right away. They can observe how well the tendon glides. The strength of the repaired tendon can also be measured. Using cadavers allows doctors to test how much load the sutures can handle. New computer technology and software allow a step-by-step process to gradually increase the pressure placed on the repaired tendon. Improved methods in surgery mean earlier and faster rehabilitation and recovery for patients.
References
David W. Sanders, MD, et al. The Effect of Flexor Tendon Repair Bulk on Tendon Gliding During Simulated Active Motion: An In Vitro Comparison of Two-Strand and Six-Strand Techniques. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2001. Vol. 26A. No. 5. Pp. 833-840.