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Flashcards in Fingertip injuries Deck (31)
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Describe the anatomy of the finger tip

  • defined as distal to the insertion of the FDP and terminal tendon
  • volar skin is thicker, glaborous skin, with thicker stratum corneum
  • pulp is fibro-fatty padding on volar aspect of finger tips for grip, pinch - maintained to distal phalanx by fibrous septae
  • dorsal skin is thinner, non glaborous skin wiht minimal subucutaneous tissue
  • dorsally there is the nail structure: perionychium, nail plate, germinal matrix, sterile matrix, hyponychium
  • arterial supply trifurcates at DIPJ and sends a dorsal branch to nail fold, branch to tip, and to pulp
  • there are glomus bodies which are AV shunts that are regulated sympathetically for temperature control
  • veins are small, dorsal venules are extremely small until level of DIPJ
  • nerves travel volar to arteries, both together below grayson ligament and above cleland ligament
  • in mid-proximal phalanx, the nerve sends a dorsal branch to the dorsal middle and distal phalanx/digit
  • at DIPJ the nerve also trifurcates, sending branches to nail fold, tip and pulp
  • the pulp is richly innervated for sensory perception


what is the lanula?

  • lanula is the hypopigmented convex crescent seen at the proximal extent of the nail plate
  • it indicuates persistent giant nuclei of cells of germinal matrix
  • distal to lanula underlying nail bed is sterile matrix, generally not responsible for nail growth/production



  • at the germinal matrix, onychocytes (nail producing cells) undergo proliferation, enlarge, the nucleus disintegrates, cells collapse and flatten; major role to contribution of keratin content
  • at the dorsal roof of the nail fold, the same process occurs as in germinal matrix, but cells lose their nuclei more quickly, also adds shine
  • along the sterile matrix there is some contribution to growth (< 10%), whereby further squamous cells are added to add strength, thickness; contributes only minor keratin and contributes to nail adhereence to bed


describe classification of fingertip injuries

  • many described / eponymous classification system
  • useful classification system will outline involved/injuried structures as follows:
  • geometry of injury
    • transverse
    • volar/dorsal/lateral oblique
  • Soft tissue/skin/pulp injured
  • Nail plate injured/involved; proximal or distal to lanula (defines involvement of germinal matrix)
  • Bone exposed in wound
  • Tendon exposed/injured
  • Joint involved


describe treatment goals for fingertip injury

  • provide durable soft tissue coverage
  • preserve sensation
  • preserve length
  • preserve nail appearance and function, prevent hook nail
  • expedite return to work/leisure
  • minimize discomfort during healing


List the options available to reconstruction of fingertip injuries

  • secondary intention
  • 1' closurewith suture approximation
  • skin graft
  • composite graft
  • homodigital flap
  • heterodigital flap
  • regional flap
  • microsurgical transfer or replantation


discuss the use of healing by secondary intention w fingertip injries: indications, advantages, disadvantages, expected outcomes

  • for defects < 1.5cm^2 (some say w no exposed volar bone)
  • advantages: better sensation, glaborous skin, no donor morbidity, inexpensive, no secdonary joint stiffness or contracture from positioning while healing
  • disadvantages: time to complete healing and return to work, hypersensitivity or dysesthesia, unstable scar (particularly if insufficient bony padding)
  • expected outcomes: most healed within 3-6 wks; most back to full manual labour by 6-8 wks, aesthetic outcome acceptable (superior)


discuss the use of skin grafts for coverage of fingertip injuries: indications, advantages, disadvantages, expected outcomes

  • for injuries not amenable to 2' intention and patient unable/unwilling to tolerate local/regional flap
  • often taken from hypothenar eminence so glabour skins - FT graft (reinnervation possible)
  • adv: easy, relatively fast, minimal donor morbidity, no contracture d/t position while healing
  • disadv: often does not achieve protective sensation, may not expedite healing vs. 2' intention


discuss the use of composite grafts for fingertip reconstruction: indications, adv, disadv, expected outcomes

  • children < 6-8years (best in < 2 years)
  • adv: glaborous skin, optimize appearance, no donor morbidity, no contracture w position during healing, preserve length /avoid revision amputation
  • disadv: unreliable healing/take with increased age, potential for stiff/flat/tough, painful, minimially sensate tip depending on extent of revascularization, risk of total failure


what are factors to consider with fingertip injuries of soft tissue and exposed bone, when comparing use of flaps vs revision amputation

  • significant exposed bone precludes use of 2' intention, skin grafting, +/- composite graft
  • options become loco-regional flap vs. revision amputation
  • revision amputation
    • adv: early return to work, functional outcomes often similar, avoid contracture w/ positioning during healing, no donor site morbidity
    • disadv: loss of length, worst cosmetic result, patient psychosocial impact of amputation and stump
    • ideal for digits where length is less criticial (D2, 4, 5) or for patients that wish to return to work asap
  • locoreginal flap
    • adv: optimal to preserve length, may preserve/restore sensation depending on flap, improved cosmesis vs. rev-amp, patient psychosocial outcome to avoid shortening or amputated appearance
    • disadv: donor site morbidity, may require sub-optimal position during healing and subsequent stiffness/contracture, protective sensation may or may not be achieved, cortical re-learning in adults rarely achieved
    • ideal to preserve length of thumb or long finger


Define the perionychium

Composed of

  • nail bed
  • nail fold
  • nail plate


What structures make up the nail fold, plate and bed

Nail bed:

  • Sterile matrix
  • germinal matrix
  • dorsal roof
  • Lunula

Nail fold (Eponychium)

  • dorsal roof
  • ventral floor
  • proximal mail plate



WHat is the hyponichium

At junction of distal nail and epidermis of tip

= large mass of WBC and keratin

Fx: mechanical and immunological barrier


What is the function of the nail plate

  • protection
  • tactile sensation
  • thermoregulation
  • cosmesis


What are options for local/regional flap for fingertip injuries (>1cm2 with bone exposure)

  • V-Y advancement (atasoy)
  • lateral V-Y advancement (kutler)
  • Dorsal reverse adipofascial flap
  • cross finger
  • reverse cross finger
  • Thenar flap
  • Homodigital neurovascular island flap
  • homodigital reverse FDMA flap
  • Heterodigital neurovascular island flap


Describe cross finger flap

  • Recon of volar defect with skin from adjacenet digit MP
  • template defect on MP of adjacent digit, raise skin,adipose leaving paratenon behind. trasnpose to defect and inset. 
  • Sutre//kwire digits together, allow gentle AROM to preent significant stiffness
  • divide 2wks
  • Adv - better sensation than skin graft
  • DisAdv - non glaborous skin, 2stage, donor site


Describe Reverse cross finger flap

  • for dorsal defects, harvesting adipofascial flap from adjacenet MP digit
  • template defect, raise skin only with pedicle away from defect finger
  • raise adipofascial flap, leaving paratenon with pedicle onside adjacenet to defect
  • inset flap in to defect
  • STSG defect flap and donor site gets skin that was raised initially
  • Adv: thin supple coverage of dorsal defects w exposed joint/tendon
  • Disadv - 2 stage, donor site morbidifty


Describe the thenar flap

  • for index and long finger defect
  • Design flap 50%larger than defect and palce on most proximal portion of thenar skin to reduce PIP flexion
  • designed as qaure H with proximal and distal flaps
  • divide 2wks - proximal flap goes to defect and distla flap used to close donor site
  • Adv: glaborous skin, no skin graft for donor
  • Disadv - pip stiffness, 2 stage procedure


What are local flap or regional flap coverage options for a thumb tip defect?

If no tendon/bone/joint exposed:

  • skin graft (FT)
  • 2'intention
  • 1'closure approximation
  • composte graft

If tendon/bone/joint exposed:

  • Moberg flap
  • Littler heterodigital neurovascular island flap
  • cross finger flap (+/- sensory)
  • Neurovascular island flap (kite flap)
  • FDMA flap
  • Great toe pulp flap


Describe the moberg flap

  • palmar advacement flap for the thumb volar defects - works on thumb b/c of dorsal arterial supply
  • elevation of both NV bundles, provides good sensation and 
  • bila midaxial incisions, raise both NV bundles and all soft tissue directly off flexor sheath
  • advacment improved if flex IP, backcut 
  • Adv: glaborous skin with good sensation
  • Dsiadv IP stiffness, flap necrosis


Describe cross finger flap for thumb

  • for volar thumb defect, donor IS SKIN ON PP OF INDEX (not MP as in other digits)
  • rest as cross finger flap


Decribe the radial sensory cross finger flap

  • For volar thumb defect, flap raised off index PP, dorsal branch of digital nerve raised and coapted to radial digital nerve of thumb
  • pedicled flap requires incision down 1st web to identify dorsal branch


Describe the neurovascular island (kite) flap

  • Flap based on NV bundle 
    • can be homodigital (direct island advancement or reverse flow based on connection proximal to DIPjt)
    • heterodigital (based on ulnar D3)
  • Steps 
    • template our defect on ulnar D3. Check vascular flow w digital doppler/allens test
    • dissect NV bundle before insicinc flap. Seperate and clip r to D4 CDA and dissect CDN back into palm to increase pedicle length
    • tunnel to thumb
    • donor site closure w STSG
  • Adv: single step, sensate tissue
  • DisADv cortical plasticity, donor site flexion contracture/scarring, flap necrosis, nerve injury


Describe FDMA flap

  • For thumb defect both volar and dorsal
  • Located on dorsum of PP of index finger. Can be reverse flow or anterograde for thumb defect
  • FDMA arises from deep br radial artery and runs along radial side of MC, under fascia and 1st DIO
  • skin flap harvested above paratenon, pedice raised through fascia, not skeletonized
  • Adv: single stage, sensate if superficial radial sensory br taken


Describe free toe pulp trasnfer

  • Neurosensory first web flap
  • A: distal communicating artery that connects FDMA or FPMA - raised off whichever is dominant
  • Sking flap terrirtory - lateral great toe to medial hemipulp of 2nd toe
  • N: deep peronal branch


How do you mange a subungal hematoma

  • >50% of nail area- remove plate, drain and repair bed
  • <50 - not a significant injury - punture hole in plate to drain hematoma for pain relief


List options for management of finger tip injuries:

  • Revision amputation
  • Secondary intention
  • S/FTSG
  • Random pattern flaps: rotation, advancement, transposition
  • Local homodigital flaps: Atasoy VY (volar); Kutler VY (bilateral), Moberg, reverse homodigital island flap
  • Local heterodigital: cross-finger, reverse cross-finger, Axial flag flap (F/SDMA over dorsal PP), Littler heterodigital NV island flap, thenar flap
  • Regional: reverse PIA, reverse radial forearm
  • Distant/free: free lateral arm, TPF, PIA, radial forearm, toe pulp, great toe


List 3 options for the following finger tip injuries

  • transverse
  • dorsal oblique
  • volar oblique

  • transverse: VY (Atasoy), VY (kutler), thenar flap

  • dorsal oblique: VY (Atasoy), reverse cross finger, revision amputation

  • volar oblique: Cross-finger, reverse homodigital island flap, thenar flap


what are considerations for different digits when considering finger tip reconstruction

  • thumb and long want to preserve length
  • thumb (ulnar side) and index (radial side) want to preserve / restore sensation


what are the complications / sequellae of finger tip injuries?

  • pain
  • hyperaesthesia, dysesthesia, hypoaesthesia, anaesthesia of tip/flap/scar
  • failure of cortical re-integration
  • cold hypersensibility
  • painful neuroma
  • stiffness / contracture