Engineering Mechanisms to Connect One Muscle to Multiple Tendons in Surgery


Technology Description


This technology is a new tendon-transfer surgical procedure that uses an implanted passive engineering mechanism for attaching multiple tendons to a single donor muscle. This improves hand function in physical interaction tasks such as grasping over the conventional method of directly suturing multiple tendons to a single muscle.


Features & Benefits


  • Improved individual finger adaption and reduced slip by 52%
  • Reduced actuation force required to close all four fingers around an object by 45%




  • Tendon-transfer surgeries where one muscle is attached to multiple tendons


Background of Invention


Tendon-transfer surgeries are performed to partially restore hand function after loss of motion due to a variety of conditions. The surgical procedure involves re-routing one or more tendons from an affected muscle and directly suturing it to a functioning donor muscle. A surgery like this would be used to cure high median-ulnar palsy, a surgery where all four Flexor Digitorum Profundus (FDP) tendons are directly sutured to the Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus (ECRL) muscle to restore flexion in the fingers. The suture directly couples the movement of all four fingers and prevents the fingers from conforming individually to an object’s shape during grasping tasks. Specially, if one finger makes contact with an object during the grasping process while the other fingers are still closing in, further ECRL contraction to close the remaining fingers will force the contacting finger to curl further and slip on the object. Furthermore, the muscle may have to stretch the tendon of the finger that has already made contact in order to flex the other fingers, increasing muscle force requirement. Researchers at Oregon State University have invented a technology that uses a passive hierarchical pulley system for attaching the donor muscle to the recipient tendons in place of the direct suture to improve hand function.





This technology has been successfully tested in cadavers. Partners are sought for continued development and commercialization. US Patent Application No. 14/725,971


Patent Information:
Tech ID:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Ravi Balasubramanian
Taymaz Homayouni
Materials Science
Medical Science & Technologies
Veterinary Science & Technologies
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