Significance of Venous Anastomosis in Fingertip Replantation

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Adequate venous outflow is the most important factor for successful fingertip replantation. The authors have attempted venous anastomosis in all cases of fingertip replantation to overcome postoperative congestion. In this article, the significance of venous repair for fingertip replantation is described from the authors' results of 64 complete fingertip amputations in 55 consecutive patients, which were replanted from January of 1996 to June of 2001. The overall survival rate was 86 percent. Of the 44 replantations in zone I, 37 survived, and the success rate was 84 percent. Of the 20 replantations in zone II, 18 survived, and the success rate was 90 percent. Venous anastomosis was attempted in all cases, but it was possible in 39 zone I and in all zone II replantations. For arterial repair, vein grafts were necessary in 17 of the 44 zone I and in one of the 20 zone II replantations; for venous repair, they were necessary in six zone I replantations and one zone II replantation. Postoperative vascular complications occurred in 15 replantations. There were five cases of arterial thrombosis and 10 cases of venous congestion. Venous congestion occurred in nine zone I and one zone II replantations. In five of these 10 replantations, venous anastomosis was not possible. In another five replantations, venous outflow was established at the time of surgery, but occlusion occurred subsequently. Except for the five failures resulting from arterial thrombosis, successful venous repair was possible in 49 of 59 replantations (83 percent). Despite the demand for skillful microsurgical technique and longer operation time, the authors' results using venous anastomosis in successful fingertip replantations are encouraging. By performing venous anastomosis, external bleeding can be avoided and a higher survival rate can be achieved. Venous anastomosis for fingertip replantation is a reliable and worthwhile procedure.

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