Thumb Replantation: A Retrospective Review of 103 Cases


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Abstract

Replantation has become the state of the art reconstruction for an amputated thumb. The aim of our study was to review our series of thumb replantations over a period of 12 years at the Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. The mechanism of injury, level of amputation, and use of vein grafts was reviewed and correlated with survival rates of the replanted thumbs. The overall survival rate was 91.3%. Of the 12 thumbs that were re-explored for vascular compromise, 75% were successfully salvaged. Our study also indicates that there is no statistical difference in survival of thumb replants when comparing the mechanism of injury, the level of amputation, and the use of vein grafts. However, the use of vein grafting seemed to be beneficial in the successful outcome of replantation in severe crush and avulsion injuries, even though the values did not reach statistical significance.We conclude that thumb replantation is associated with very high survival rate, regardless of the mechanism of injury or level of amputation, and should be attempted in all cases. An early reexploration for vascular problems yields a high salvage rate and should be performed in all cases. We also recommend the use of vein grafts in severe crush and avulsion injuries.

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