How is a type III swan-neck deformity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) characterized?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Michael Neumeister, MD, FRCSC, FACS; Chief Editor: Joseph A Molnar, MD, PhD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

A type III deformity is characterized by a significant reduction of PIP joint motion, but with well-preserved joint spaces, as depicted on radiographs. The stiffness is caused by contracture of the extensor mechanism, collateral ligaments, and skin. The initial goal of the surgical reconstruction of a type III deformity is the restoration of passive motion to the PIP joint. This may be accomplished by using 1 or more procedures, including PIP joint manipulation, lateral band mobilization, and flexor tenosynovectomy or tenolysis.


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