Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 138, Issue 7, pp 1029–1033 | Cite as

An anatomical study on the effectiveness of Arthrex Mini TightRope® ligament reconstruction in an unstable trapeziometacarpal joint

  • T. R. Friebel
  • E. T. Walbeehm
  • G.-J. Kleinrensink
  • S. Ray
  • J. M. Zuidam



Laxity in the trapeziometacarpal (TMC) joint is a debilitating condition usually affecting a young population. It can be treated operatively with ligament reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the Arthrex Mini TightRope® in reinforcing the stabilizing ligaments in an unstable TMC joint without decreasing the range of motion of the thumb. This method was compared with the “gold standard” published by Eaton and Littler in 1973.

Materials and methods

Six fresh frozen arms from five cadavers were included. TMC joint laxity was measured on stress view radiographs as the ratio of the radial subluxation (RS) of the first metacarpal in relation to the trapezium, by the first metacarpal articular width (AW) (as described by Wolf in 2009). Measurements of the pre- and post-operative range of motion (ROM) were performed and compared.


Both the Arthrex Mini TightRope® and the Eaton–Littler stabilization improved the stability of the TMC joint. The pre-operative laxity value (ratio RS/AW) of 0.27 was significantly (P = 0.02) improved by each of the surgical interventions (Eaton–Littler RS/AW = 0.05 and Tightrope RS/AW = 0.09). The pre- and post-operative range of motion was not significantly different by each of the surgical interventions. There were no significant differences between the two stabilizing methods regarding laxity or range of motion.


The Arthrex Mini TightRope® provided a good stabilization method for the TMC joint in this anatomical model without compromising the range of motion.


Unstable TMC joint Anatomical study Eaton–Littler ligament reconstruction Arthrex Mini TightRope® 



There is no funding source. Arthrex did supply us with the Mini TightRopes® free of charge.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand SurgeryErasmus MCRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand SurgeryRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of AnatomyErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery, Blond McIndoe Research FoundationQueen Victoria HospitalEast GrinsteadUK
  5. 5.St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and BurnsBroomfield Hospital, MEHTChelmsfordUK

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