An adjustable superior oblique tendon spacer with the use of nonabsorbable suture

Donny W. Suh, David L. Guyton, David G. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Philip Knapp described a method, sometimes referred to as the "chicken suture,"of securing a loose nonabsorbable suture to the cut ends of the superior oblique tendon to facilitate future reversal. The purpose of this study is to describe a modification of Knapp's technique to achieve partial, reversible, and intraoperatively adjustable superior oblique weakening. Methods: The superior oblique tendon was exposed, 2 polyester nonabsorbable sutures were placed 4 mm apart, and the tendon was cut. With the use of a slip knot, the cut ends of the tendon were separated by 2 to 8 mm. Tendon separation was adjusted intraoperatively according to the exaggerated traction test and, in some cases, fundus torsion. Medical records of all patients who underwent surgery with this technique were reviewed and the outcomes tabulated. Results: Twelve patients (16 eyes) were treated for superior oblique overaction and 3 patients (3 eyes) for Brown syndrome. Follow-up was 2 to 46 months (mean, 17 months). Mean superior oblique overaction improved from +1.3 before surgery to +0.3 after surgery, mean A pattern improved from 20 PD to 2 PD, and fundus intorsion improved from +1.2 to +0.3. In Brown syndrome, the mean elevation in adduction improved from -3.8 to -1.0. One patient from each group developed an overcorrection. None of the patients developed recurrence. The patients with Brown syndrome continued to improve over a 1-year period. Conclusions: The superior oblique tendon suture spacer is effective, intraoperatively adjustable, and technically easier to perform than a silicone expander procedure. This technique should be considered as an alternative for patients requiring superior oblique weakening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-171
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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