Effects of tendon and muscle belly dissection on muscular force transmission following tendon transfer in the rat
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The aim of the present study was to quantify to what extent the scar tissue formation following the transfer of flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) to the distal tendon of extensor carpi radialis (ECR) affects the force transmission from transferred FCU in the rat. Five weeks after recovery from surgery (tendon transfer group) and in a control group, isometric length-force characteristics of FCU were assessed for progressive stages of dissection: (i) with minimally disrupted connective tissues, (ii) after full dissection of FCU distal tendon exclusively, and (iii) after additional partial dissection of FCU muscle belly. Total and passive length-force characteristics of transferred and control FCU changed significantly by progressive stages of dissection. In both groups, tendon dissection decreased passive FCU force exerted at the distal tendon, as well as the slope of the length-force curve. However, force and slope changes were more pronounced for transferred FCU compared to controls. No additional changes occurred after muscle belly dissection. In contrast, total force increased in transferred FCU following both tendon and muscle belly dissection at all lengths studied, while dissection decreased total force of control FCU. In addition, after tendon and muscle belly dissection, we found decreased muscle belly lengths at equal muscle-tendon complex lengths of transferred FCU. We conclude that scar tissue limits the force transmission from transferred FCU muscle via the tendon of insertion to the skeleton, but that some myofascial connectivity of the muscle should be classified as physiological.