Finger amputations are one of the more common hand injuries and are commonly seen in the emergency setting. Amputations can range from involvement of a small tip of a single finger, to multiple finger amputations, whole hand amputations or arm amputations. These injuries have many medically importance differences, such as the angle of the amputation, or if the cut was sharp or blunt.
Digital amputations are frequent lesions, the majority being caused by work and home accidents.
The objective of treatment of small tip amputations is usually to reconstruct the tip of the finger to give a good rounded contour of the fingertip, preserve the fingernail when possible, and provide the best sensation in the fingertip. Most often this is done with the use of small skin flaps. Skin flaps involve techniques of transferring skin and soft tissue from one place in the body to another.
When all or a major part of a finger, or a hand has been amputated, the focus of treatment is often on reattachment of the amputated part. This must be done by a qualified team headed by a hand surgeon. Properly preserved amputated fingers can be reattached up to 24 hours after the amputation. However, there is a better chance of success if the surgery is done within 6-12 hours.
Surgery involves fixing the bone, repairing cut tendons, and microsurgical repair of cut blood vessels and nerves. Such surgery must be done under a microscope with specialized instruments, sutures and techniques.
After surgery, the reattached part must be monitored in the hospital for 3-5 days as blood clots can form in the repaired blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply to the part.
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