A Systematic Review of the Outcomes of Replantation of Distal Digital Amputation

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Background:The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the English literature on replantation of distal digital amputations to provide the best evidence of survival rates and functional outcomes.Methods:A MEDLINE search using “digit,” “finger,” “thumb,” and “replantation” as keywords and limited to humans and English-language articles identified 1297 studies. Studies were included in the review if they (1) present primary data, (2) report five or more single or multiple distal replantations, and (3) present survival rates. Additional data extracted from the studies meeting the inclusion criteria included demographic information, nature and level of amputation, venous outflow technique, nerve repair, recovery of sensibility, range of motion, return to work, and complications.Results:Thirty studies representing 2273 distal replantations met the inclusion criteria. The mean survival rate was 86 percent. There was no difference in survival between zone I and zone II replantations (Tamai classification). There was a significant difference in survival between replantation of clean-cut versus the more crushed amputations (crush-cut and crush-avulsion). The repair of a vein improved survival in both zone I and zone II replantation. The mean two-point discrimination was 7 mm (n = 220), and 98 percent returned to work (n = 98). Complications included pulp atrophy in 14 percent of patients (n = 639) and nail deformity in 23 percent (n = 653).Conclusions:The common perception that distal replantation is associated with little functional gain is not based on scientific evidence. This systematic review showed a high success rate and good functional outcomes following distal digital replantation.CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Therapeutic, IV.

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