Free Nonvascularized Composite Nail Grafts: An Institutional Experience

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Free, nonvascularized composite nail grafts have been reported as a successful method to reconstruct nail deformities due to congenital anomalies or traumatic defects. The authors performed a decade review of their experience with nine patients who had had 10 free, nonvascularized composite nail grafts. Patient demographics, mechanism of injury, timing, site of reconstruction, and amount of nail to be replaced were all recorded. Results of nail growth in reconstructed nails were judged as excellent, good, fair, or poor on the basis of the appearance of the nail. The majority of reconstructed nails had half or more of the nail bed replaced. The 10 cases (mean follow-up of 1.8 years) that were reported had two excellent, three good, two fair, and three poor outcomes. There was no apparent relation between the successful outcome of the procedure and patient age, timing of reconstruction, or amount of nail bed replaced. Although the authors’ experience suggests the unpredictable nature of this type of graft, it should be considered for patients who desire nail reconstruction and are not candidates for ablative or vascularized nail complex transfer procedures.

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