Fingertip amputation are the most common injuries of the hand and the severity of the injury dictates the degree of treatment. They can occur in accidents at work, home or play. An amputation can result from slamming your finger in a car door or while cutting vegetables for dinner.
Fingertips are rich of nerves making them extremely sensitive. Without immediate attention, a fingertip amputation can cause issues with hand function and possibly lead to disability or deformity.
The primary goal of treatment is to have a painless fingertip covered with skin and normal function. Treatment of the amputation depends on the extent of injury
Injury without bone exposure
- Minor tissue injury: if the wound is small enough, it may heal on its own. Your doctor will most likely bandage the wound and give you directions on how to change the dressing. Complete healing can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks. However, hypersensitivity and stiffness may remain longer.
Larger tissue injury: If the wound is large and open, it may be left open to heal gradually on its own, this is called healing by secondary intention. However, surgery may be required to heal.
- Skin Grafting: a piece of skin is taken from an area beside the hand and used to cover the injury. Both wound and donor site are closed with sutures.
Injury with exposed bone
Reconstructive Flap Surgery
- It may be necessary to cover the wound with new skin as well as the fat and blood vessels. The skin and soft tissue are taken from a healthy part of the same hand.
- In some cases, the flap is not fully removed from the donor area. The flap is sewn over the wound but it remains connected to the donor area. This is done to ensure a healthy blood supply to the flap as it heals over the wound.
- It typically takes a few weeks for the flat to heal and establish its blood supply.
- Replantation: if your injury has cut off a large portion of your finger tip, our doctor will consider the pros and cons of reattaching the amputated part. It is a complicated surgery where blood vessels are reattached. This procedure takes a significant amount of time to heal.
- Reconstructive Flap Surgery
Risk and Complications
Like any surgery, there is a risk of infection, poor wound healing, hypersensitivity, numbness, stiffness, abnormal nail growth and loss of viability in the amputated part.