JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Study protocol for a randomized controlled pilot-trial on the semiocclusive treatment of fingertip amputation injuries using a novel finger cap

Jurek Schultz, Susann Leupold, Xina Grählert, Roland Pfeiffer, Uta Schwanebeck, Percy Schröttner, Barbara Djawid, Wladislav Artsimovich, Karol Kozak, Guido Fitze
Medicine (Baltimore) 2017, 96 (41): e8224
29019891

INTRODUCTION: Fingertip amputation injuries are common in all ages. Conservatively treated fingertips can regenerate skin and soft tissues to form a functionally and cosmetically excellent new fingertip. Little is known about this ability that, in humans, is confined to the fingertips. Even less is known about the role of the bacteria that regularly colonize these wounds without negative impact on regeneration and healing.As an alternative to surgery, self-adhesive film dressings are commonly used to establish a wet chamber around the injury. These dressings leak malodorous wound fluid eventually until the wound is dry. Having that into consideration, we have therefore developed a silicone finger cap that forms a mechanically protected, wet chamber around the injury for optimal regeneration conditions. It contains a puncturable reservoir for excess wound fluid, which can be thus routinely analyzed for diagnostic and research purposes.This study protocol explains the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the semiocclusive treatment of fingertip amputations in both children and adults comparing traditional film dressings with the novel silicone finger cap. Being the first RCT using 2 medical devices not yet certified for this indication, it will gather valuable information for the understanding of fingertip regeneration and the design of future definitive studies.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: By employing an innovative pseudo-cross-over-design with a dichotomous primary endpoint based on patients preference, this pilot study will gain statistically significant data with a very limited sample size. Our RCT will investigate acceptance, safety, effectiveness, and efficacy of this novel medical device while gathering information on the clinical course and outcome of conservatively treated fingertip injuries. A total of 22 patients older than 2 years will be randomly assigned to start the conservative treatment with either the traditional film-dressing or the novel finger cap. The treatment will be changed to the other alternative for another 2 weeks before the patient or the guardian is confronted with the decision of which method they would prefer for the rest of the treatment (if required).

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval (EK 148042015) of the study protocol has been obtained from Institutional Review Board at the TU Dresden. The trial is registered at the European Database on Medical Devices (EUDAMED-No.: CIV-15-03-013246) and at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03089060).

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