Biomechanics of the Steindler Flexorplasty Surgery: A Computer Simulation Study

Katherine R. Saul*, Wendy M. Murray, V. R. Hentz, Scott L. Delp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Our goal was to investigate the capacity of a Steindler flexorplasty to restore elbow flexion to persons with C5-C6 brachial plexus palsy. In this procedure the origin of the flexor-pronator mass is moved proximally onto the humeral shaft. We examined how the choice of the proximal attachment site for the flexor-pronator mass affects elbow flexion restoration, especially considering possible side effects including limited wrist and forearm motion owing to passive restraint from stretched muscles. Methods: A computer model of the upper extremity was used to simulate the biomechanical consequences of various surgical alterations. Unimpaired, preoperative, and postoperative conditions were simulated. Seven possible transfer locations were used to investigate the effects of choice of transfer location. Results: Each transfer site produced a large increase in elbow flexion strength. Transfer to more proximal attachment sites also produced large increases in passive resistance to wrist extension and forearm supination. Conclusions: To reduce detrimental side effects while achieving clinical goals our theoretical analysis suggests a transfer to the distal limit of the traditional transfer region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-986
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Computer simulation
  • Steindler flexorplasty
  • Upper-extremity model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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