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Distal Rectus Femoris Tendon Transfer for the Correction of Stiff-Knee Gait in Cerebral Palsy
T. Dreher, MD; F. Braatz, MD; S.I. Wolf, PhD; V. Ewerbeck, MD; D. Heitzmann, MSc; W. Wenz, MD; L. Döderlein, MD

Overview

Introduction Distal rectus femoris tendon transfer is the standard surgical procedure for the treatment of stiff-knee gait in patients with cerebral palsy and is commonly performed during single-event multilevel surgery.

Step 1: Positioning and Approach With the patient supine, make a 3 to 4-cm longitudinal incision 2 to 3 cm above the patellar proximal pole.

Step 2: Preparation of the Rectus Femoris Tendon Separate the rectus femoris tendon from the vasti; avoid releasing the entire quadriceps at all cost.

Step 4: Transferring the Gracilis Tendon to the Rectus Femoris Tendon Insert a long tendon passer above the fascia and beneath the sartorius muscle belly from anterior to posterior to the mini-incision in the pes anserinus region to grasp and transfer the gracilis tendon to the anterior approach.

Step 5: Tendon Tensioning and Suturing Weave the gracilis tendon into the released rectus femoris tendon with the interlacing technique described by Pulvertaft.

Results Various studies have demonstrated good initial results, with an improvement in peak knee flexion in swing phase and knee motion in swing phase, following distal rectus femoris tendon transfer.

What to Watch For Indications

Contraindications

Pitfalls & Challenges

Introduction

Distal rectus femoris tendon transfer is the standard surgical procedure for the treatment of stiff-knee gait in patients with cerebral palsy and is commonly performed during single-event multilevel surgery. Stiff-knee gait is characterized by decreased knee flexion during swing phase leading to foot clearance problems as well as reduced gait velocity and step length and is often accompanied by tripping and falling1,2. This gait disorder is commonly exhibited by patients with …


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