Monopolar Radiofrequency Energy Application to the Dorsal Extensor Tendon Apparatus in a Canine Model of Tendon Injury

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PURPOSE: To evaluate the use of monopolar radiofrequency energy (MRFE) to shorten stretched dorsal extensor tendon apparatus (DETA) tissues in a canine model. METHODS: Eleven adult canine forelimbs were used in this in vitro investigation. The DETA tissue was isolated between the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints in the third and fourth digits of each limb. Isolated tissue was stretched in all but 2 of the digits (control group). After tissue stretching, monopular radiofrequency energy (MRFE) was applied to 18 of the digits at 1 of 3 temperatures: 50 degrees C, 60 degrees C, or 70 degrees C (stretch-treatment group). Two digits were treated identically, but MRFE was not applied (stretch-only group). Tissue length was measured before and after stretching and after treatment. Percent stretch, percent shortening, and percent original length were compared among the 3 stretch-treatment groups. All DETA specimens were examined with light microscopy. RESULTS: Histologic changes were apparent in the stretch-treatment and stretch-only specimens compared with controls. Percent stretch was not significantly different between groups. Percent shortening and percent original length were significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 50 degrees C group than in the 60 degrees C and 70 degrees C stretch-treatment groups, which were not significantly different from each other. There was a significant linear correspondence between percent shortening and treatment temperature. CONCLUSIONS: The application of MRFE at a temperature of 60 degrees C and a power of 10 W appears to shorten stretched DETA tissue to approximately the prestretched length in an in vitro canine model. Further investigation is necessary to determine the effect of treatment on the tissue's mechanical properties.

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The Journal of hand surgery

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