Background: Tendon transfer surgery can restore elbow extension in approximately 70% of persons with tetraplegia and often results in antigravity elbow extension strength. However, we have noted an almost 15% rupture/attenuation rate. Objective: This investigation was conducted to analyze potential causes in adolescents/young adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) who experienced tendon rupture or attenuation after biceps-to-triceps transfer. Methods: Medical charts of young adults with SCI who underwent biceps-to-triceps transfer and experienced tendon rupture or attenuation were reviewed. Data collected by retrospective chart review included general demographics, surgical procedure(s), use and duration of antibiotic treatment, time from tendon transfer surgery to rupture/attenuation, and method of diagnosis. Results: Twelve subjects with tetraplegia (mean age, 19 years) who underwent biceps-to-triceps reconstruction with subsequent tendon rupture or attenuation were evaluated. Mean age at time of tendon transfer was 18 years (range, 14-21 years). A fluoroquinolone was prescribed for 42% (n=5) of subjects. Tendon rupture was noted in 67% (n=8), and attenuation was noted in 33% (n=4). Average length of time from surgery to tendon rupture/attenuation was 5.7 months (range, 3-10 months). Conclusion: Potential contributing causes of tendon rupture/ attenuation after transfer include surgical technique, rehabilitation, co-contraction of the transfer, poor patient compliance, and medications. In this cohort, 5 subjects were prescribed fluoroquinolones that have a US Food and Drug Administration black box concerning tendon ruptures. Currently, all candidates for upper extremity tendon transfer reconstruction are counseled on the effects of fluoroquinolones and the potential risk for tendon rupture.
Rupture Following Biceps-to-Triceps Tendon Transfer in Adolescents and Young Adults With Spinal Cord Injury: An Analysis of Potential Causes
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Lisa Merenda, Laure Rutter, Kimberly Curran, Scott Kozin; Rupture Following Biceps-to-Triceps Tendon Transfer in Adolescents and Young Adults With Spinal Cord Injury: An Analysis of Potential Causes. Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil 1 July 2012; 18 (3): 197–204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1310/sci1803-197
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