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Replantation of digits

Contents of this page:


Amputated finger
Amputated finger
Replantation of digits - series
Replantation of digits - series

Alternative Names    Return to top

Revascularization of amputated digits; Reattachment of amputated fingers

Definition    Return to top

Replantation of digits is surgery to repair completely amputated fingers or toes.

Description    Return to top

The patient is sedated using regional or general anesthesia. The bone ends may be shortened to remove tension on the repaired blood vessels. The finger or toe is put in place and the bone is stabilized with wires or a plate and screws. Tendon repairs are done next.

The nerves and vessels are then repaired with special surgical instruments. This part of the surgery is most critical to its success. The skin is then closed. A bulky dressing is applied.

Young children may need to wear a cast to protect the area from injury.

With an incomplete amputation, part of the digit stays attached to the body by skin, artery, vein, or nerve. A process called revascularization is used to reattach the rest of the digit.

Why the Procedure is Performed    Return to top

The surgery is recommended in a case of amputated fingers or toes, when the fingers or toes are in a condition that would allow replantation.

Risks    Return to top

Risks for any anesthesia include the following:

Risks for any surgery include the following: Additional risks include the following:

After the Procedure    Return to top

Children are especially good candidates for replantation surgery because of their great ability to heal and regenerate tissue. Replantation of an amputated part is ideally performed within 4 - 6 hours after the injury. However, success has been reported up to 24 hours after the injury if the amputated part has been cooled.

Proper care of the amputated part or parts is critical to successful replantation. Under the right conditions, there is a good likelihood that the surgery can restore the use of the finger or toe.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Special care is needed in the hospital to monitor and maintain the blood flow to the replanted part. The arm or leg will be kept raised. The room may be kept warm to ensure that blood flow to the skin is not changed due to cooling.

After discharge from the hospital in about a week, you may need to wear a cast to protect the part. The health care provider will need to continue checking blood flow in the digit.

References    Return to top

Chai Y, Kang Q, Yang Q, Zeng B. Replantation of amputated finger composite tissues with microvascular anastomosis. Microsurgery. 2008;28:314-320.

Update Date: 7/17/2008

Updated by: Andrew L. Chen, MD, MS, Orthopedist, The Alpine Clinic, Littleton, NH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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