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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Non-operative management of fingertip injuries with an intravenous dressing

N B Ha, A C Chang, J S Sullivan, D T Leonello
Journal of Wound Care 2015, 24 (6): 276, 278-9
26075376

OBJECTIVE: The optimal management of fingertip injuries is a much debated topic. Surgical and nonsurgical options, including treatment with dressings alone, have comparable results. IV3000 is a semi-occlusive dressing with a high reactive moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR) compared to its alternatives. As the fingertip is crucial to hand function, determining the optimal dressing to treat these injuries is of clinical importance. The aim of this study is to collect preliminary data on the IV dressing when used to treat fingertip injuries.

METHOD: Patients were recruited from the department of orthopaedic surgery outpatient clinic. Inclusion criteria were a fingertip injury with skin loss and emergency department treatment consistent with the study protocol, including washing the fingertip, simple debridement as required, administration of antibiotics, tetanus prophylaxis, and fingertip dressed with the IV dressing.

RESULTS: Fingertip injuries (15) from 13 male patients were identified. With the exception of one, all injuries were treated with the IV dressing and were included in the analysis. The treatment outcome of 13 injuries was rated as 'satisfactory' by the patients, while one was rated 'indifferent'. The latter was on one of two patients with injuries to two digits. No patient reported their outcome as 'unsatisfactory'. At the 18-24 months' follow-up, seven of the 14 affected digits had some degree of hypersensitivity, eight regained normal pulp thicknesses, one had thickened padding, and five had reduced pulp volume. All but one patient reported some degree of numbness. Nail involvement was seen in 11 injuries, all of which continued to have some degree of nail deformity.

CONCLUSION: The IV dressing provides satisfactory outcomes when used to treat fingertip injuries. As the dressing possesses properties that suggest it would result in a superior healing environment compared to other semi-occlusive dressings, a prospective, randomised control trial should be conducted to determine whether these properties translate into superior outcomes when used to treat fingertip injuries.

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