Validity of exploration for suitable vessels for replantation in the distal fingertip amputation in early childhood: replantation or composite graft

Atsushi Imaizumi, Kunihiro Ishida, Ken Arashiro, Osamu Nishizeki
Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery 2013, 47 (4): 258-62
Composite grafting, grafting without microvascular anastomoses, has been widely performed for distal fingertip amputation in children with variable results, whereas successful replantation of these amputations using microsurgical technique has been reported. However, most of these reports included a wide age-range and a mix of different amputation levels. This study reviewed our cases of paediatric digital amputation, in order to verify the value of distal fingertip replantation over composite grafting, especially in early childhood. Seventeen young children (aged 3 years and 8 months on average), with single-digit fingertip amputations in Tamai zone I were reviewed from 1993-2008. Each amputation was subdivided into three types: distal, middle, and proximal. There were three distal, 13 middle, and one proximal type zone I amputations. All were crush or avulsion injuries. All three distal-type cases were reattached as primary composite grafts with one success. For middle-type cases, the survival rate of primary composite graft without exploration for possible vessels for anastomosis was 57%. On exploration, suitable vessels for anastomosis were found 50% of the time, in which all replantations were succeeded. The remaining cases were reattached as secondary composite grafts, with one success using the pocket method. Consequently, the success rate after exploration was 67%. The only one proximal-type amputation was failed in replantation. For the middle-type zone I amputation in early childhood, replantation has a high success rate if suitable vessels can be found. Therefore, exploration is recommended for amputations at this level with a view to replantation, irrespective of the mechanism of injury.


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