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Early Active Mobilization Following UCL Repair With Mitek Bone Anchor

Crowley, Timothy P. MBChB, MRCS(Glasg); Stevenson, Susan MBChB, PhD, FRCS(Plast); Taghizadeh, Reika MBChB, FRCS(Plast); Addison, Patrick MBChB, MD, FRCS(Plast); Milner, Richard H. MD, FRCS(Plast)

Techniques in Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery: September 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 124–127
doi: 10.1097/BTH.0b013e318284dbd7

Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries of the thumb are common. Surgical repair is accepted as the treatment of choice for complete rupture of the ligament. Biomechanical studies have suggested that Mitek bone anchor repairs are potentially safe and strong enough to allow early controlled active mobilization. To date, there have been no studies to compare early active mobilization following Mitek bone anchor repair to standard postoperative rehabilitation involving thumb spica immobilization for the first 4 to 6 weeks. We performed a small pilot randomized control trial to assess the outcome of this new rehabilitation technique to that of standard immobilization following UCL repair with Mitek bone anchor. Our results show that on average early active mobilization leads to an earlier return to full hand function (6 vs. 8 wk) and an earlier return to work (7 vs. 11 wk). There is no difference in the final range of motion achieved. We suggest that Mitek bone anchor repairs for UCL ruptures are robust enough to allow early active mobilization and that a larger trial is warranted to assess whether early active mobilization is superior to standard rehabilitation.

Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Timothy P. Crowley, MBChB, MRCS(Glasg), 14 The Stephenson, North Side, Gateshead NE8 2BF, UK. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins