Dorsally extended digital island flap for repairing soft tissue injury of the fingertip

Motonao Iwasawa, Tatsuya Kawamura, Fumio Nagai
Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery: JPRAS 2011, 64 (10): 1300-5

BACKGROUND: The digital triangular island flap is one of the most useful types of flap for repairing soft-tissue loss at the fingertip, because it is sensate and has glabrous skin. However, this type of flap has several disadvantages, including limited length of advancement and limited flap size.

METHODS: We have developed a new type of dorsally extended digital island flap to extend the reach of the digital triangular island flap. This dorsally extended portion, 15 mm in width and 20 mm in length, is based on the dorsal branch of the digital artery at the distal phalanx level. This island flap has a longer reach than the conventional digital island flap and can transfer larger amounts of soft tissue to the injured fingertip. Sixteen patients with fingertip amputation were treated using this flap.

RESULTS: All of the flaps survived. The dorsally extended digital island flap could repair pulp tissue losses up to 30 mm in length in oblique volar injury. In transverse injury, a new fingertip could be produced with this flap in a single stage. We successfully covered the exposed bone without shortening the digital bone of the fingertip using our extended flap. No claw nail deformity occurred and no flexion contracture remained in any of the cases.

CONCLUSION: Use of a dorsally extended digital island flap is recommended for repairing fingertip injury in cases with defect sizes ranging from 10 to 30 mm in length and also in both oblique volar and transverse injuries. This flap is more versatile for repair of fingertip injury than the conventional digital island flap.


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