Surgical treatment of pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis traditionally consists of open drainage (OD) and irrigation of the flexor tendon sheath. An alternative, less traumatic method of closed-catheter irrigation (CCI) has been advocated, but no comparative studies have been reported. The authors reviewed 47 cases of pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis to determine whether a difference in outcomes exists between these two methods. OD was used in 32 patients and CCI was used in 15 patients. Complications appeared to be more common in the OD group (N = 9) compared with the CCI group (N = 3), but this difference was not significant. This study supports the use of CCI as the preferred treatment for pyogenic flexor tenosynovitis because it provides thorough mechanical tendon sheath irrigation and causes smaller wounds with less scarring, which may offer a more rapid return to function.
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