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Transfer of a Severely Damaged Digit to Reconstruct an Amputated Thumb*
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Investigation performed at SOS Main Strasbourg, Strasbourg, and SOS Main Montpellier, Montpellier
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1996 Dec 01;78(12):1889-96
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We retrospectively reviewed the results of reconstruction of a traumatically amputated thumb with use of an adjacent severely damaged digit in twenty-seven patients (twenty-five male and two female patients). The mean duration of follow-up was nine years (range, two to twenty-one years). The mean age at the time of the reconstruction was thirty-four years (range, thirteen to fifty-six years). Five patients had the reconstruction on the day of the injury and twenty-two, after a mean delay of five months (range, fifteen days to thirteen months). Segments of the index finger were used in twenty-two patients; of the long finger, in four patients; and of the ring finger, in one patient. There were four complications: necrosis of the dorsal skin in one patient, reflex sympathetic dystrophy in one patient, and contracture of the first web space in two patients.Discriminative sensibility was ten millimeters or less, according to the Weber test, in twenty-four thumbs. Cortical integration with reference to the recipient thumb, on stimulation of the pollicized segment, was good in ten patients. Eleven patients could achieve tip-to-tip contact between the thumb and the little finger and twenty-five patients, between the thumb and the most radial finger. The ability to perform activities of daily living was considered good for ten patients, fair for eleven, and poor for six. Only digits with a nail, either present on the transferred segment or as a result of a free vascularized nail transfer, were considered to have a good cosmetic result.Although these results are far from impressive, the reconstruction is a viable alternative for selected patients because it maintains the ability to grasp objects and to oppose the digits.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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